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Have You Made These Bankruptcy Filing Mistakes?

Posted by on Mar 22, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Have You Made These Bankruptcy Filing Mistakes?

Bankruptcies are not as clear cut as they seem. There is a great deal of paperwork involved and if you make one mistake, the judge could dismiss your filing. If that occurs, you could be faced with legal challenges from your creditors. To keep your bankruptcy moving forward, you need to avoid the following mistakes.   Paying Creditors Before Filing Although it might seem logical to try and pay off some of your debts in the immediate period leading up to a bankruptcy filing, it can actually hurt your case. When you file, a trustee will review your financial history. If he or she believes that payments made to certain creditors were questionable, he or she could send a formal notice requesting the return of the payment.   For instance, if you paid your parents back for a loan, the trustee could view this as an attempt to play favorites with your creditors. As a result, the trustee could ask your parents to return the funds.   If you must pay a debt before filing, talk to a bankruptcy attorney before doing so to determine if the payment could be seen as questionable.   Failing to Pay Taxes One of the possible delays you could face in your bankruptcy case relates to your taxes. As part of the review of your financial history, the trustee will verify that you have filed your taxes over the years. If you have any tax returns that were not filed, your case could be delayed or denied.   Before filing, review all of your tax records and ensure that the taxes were filed. If there are any years missing, now is the time to file those returns. You will likely face late fees and other penalties, but your bankruptcy should not be derailed.   Transferring Assets to a Family Member In an effort to recoup some of the funds that are owed to creditors, the trustee could seize some of your assets and liquidate them. Knowing this, some people try to transfer some of their assets to family members to hide them from the trustee. Of the many mistakes you could make in a bankruptcy, this is one of the worst.   If the trustee finds out about the transfer, he or she might believe that you were attempting to commit fraud. If that happens, not only could your bankruptcy be denied, but you could face fraud charges.   To avoid these mistakes and the many other sins that could lead to a delay or denial, work with a bankruptcy attorney like Fessenden Laumer & DeAngelo, PLLC on your...

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Getting Additional Car Accident Evidence in Your Favor

Posted by on Mar 14, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Getting Additional Car Accident Evidence in Your Favor

If you’ve been involved in an accident without many public witnesses, it can be hard to prove your point. There’s evidence that police will gather that can determined what happened, such as skid mark direction, the area of vehicle damage and toxicology reports. There still may be some room for doubt, and since you have some insight into the incident, you should start looking for other areas that could hold evidence. Without disturbing said evidence, here are a few angles to consider after being involved in an accident when evidence can make the difference.  Local Business and Facility Recording Was your accident near any businesses, or at least within line of sight? Many security cameras point within their own property, but may have cameras facing major roads that could single out a collision. It may be blurry in some cases, but if you’re sure it wasn’t your fault and simply need more proof to show the other party’s fault, the footage can help. Before canvassing for evidence, you’ll need to be prepared to receive the evidence. With cameras, you’ll likely only get a copy rather than the original. If someone tries to get you an original, by all means be positive about the situation and arrange for the evidence to go to your lawyer or law enforcement with your lawyer present. If you accept the evidence without proper authority, it’s too easy for the other party to claim that you tampered with the evidence. Such tampering can be detected and debated if you didn’t do anything, but it’s a delay that you don’t need and an issue that you can avoid by going through the proper channels. You have few concerns if you simply receive a copy, and even if the original is surrendered to authorities, you can still ask for a copy for your own records. For newer security cameras, having a USB storage device/thumb drive to copy information is fine. You should also have a CD or DVD-holding book or set of cases in case the system uses discs. Lucky Recording on Smartphones Don’t underestimate the speed and quality of passersby. Your accident could have been recorded by someone’s dashboard camera or by a passenger just recording the day. The next best thing would be recording after the accident, which can show what happened before cars were moved out of the way if positioning is being questioned. Social media is your friend here. The people with the evidence can come forward easily through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or other social media platforms and garner a bit of social attention through sharing. It’s news, after all, and they’ll have an interesting scoop with someone involved with their video. Contact a car accident lawyer like those at Brownfield Law Office and discuss the evidence you plan on tracking down, along with anything you may have found...

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What Happens if Your Spouse Never Responds to the Divorce Papers They Were Served?

Posted by on Mar 9, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What Happens if Your Spouse Never Responds to the Divorce Papers They Were Served?

When you finally reach the last straw and decide to serve your spouse with divorce papers, there’s a huge sense of relief that follows. But this sense of relief can be short-lived if, like many obstinate spouses, yours does not respond to the divorce papers in any way. They have not signed and returned the papers, and they refuse to communicate with you about the divorce that you so desperately want. This situation can be incredibly frustrating and emotional, but it’s important that you take a deep breath and maintain your composure. Here’s what will happen—and what you need to do next. Make sure the papers were legally served. Simply dropping off the papers at your spouse’s residence, mailing them to your spouse, or giving them to a friend to deliver does not legally count as “serving them” in most jurisdictions. In most cases, either you or a police officer need to have legally handed the papers to your spouse in order for them to be considered served. If this is not how you provided your spouse with the papers, then you need to obtain a new copy of the divorce papers and contact your local police station to have them formally served. Otherwise, your spouse could just argue that they never saw the papers—and there’s no proof otherwise. File for a motion to proceed without your spouse’s participation. Once your spouse has been properly served with divorce papers, he or she has 20 days to respond by signing the papers and turning them into the court. On day 21, if your spouse has not responded, you can file a motion to proceed with the divorce in your spouse’s absence. You’ll typically need to go to your county courthouse to do this. They may process your motion that day, or you may need to schedule a court date and have a judge approve your motion to proceed in your spouse’s absence. The divorce proceedings will go on without your spouse. Once your motion to proceed has been approved, it will be too late for your spouse to participate—even if he or she changes their mind. You and your attorney will present all of your information, financial and otherwise, to the court. Your spouse may be subpoenaed to provide certain info, but he or she will not get the chance to “argue their side” in divorce court. The judge will decide, based on your testimony and the information provided, how the assets should be fairly split and who should be awarded custody of the children. If your spouse has not replied to your divorce papers, don’t get too worried. As long as you apply for a motion to continue without your spouse, your case can be heard—and the judge will make a fair decision based on your testimony only. Learn more by contacting attorneys through firms like Begley Carlin & Mandio...

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Why Having A Personal Injury Attorney Increases Your Chances Of A Better Settlement Offer

Posted by on Mar 6, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why Having A Personal Injury Attorney Increases Your Chances Of A Better Settlement Offer

If you have recently sustained injuries that resulted in lost wages, hospital and doctor bills, and an intense amount of pain and suffering, you most likely want to make sure that the responsible party is going to financially compensate you with a nice settlement offer. Settlements are great because they provide you with the quickest access to cash that you may desperately need. However, you want to make sure that you are retaining a personal injury attorney to assist you with the collection of this offer in order to obtain the best possible deal. They Know You Mean Business Right away, you want the guilty party to know that you are taking this very seriously and so should they. With an attorney by your side, it is obvious that you are going to have more information regarding your rights and how much money you can really get from them. This tells the guilty party that if they are not able to reach a settlement agreement that you like, you will be more likely to push the issue all of the way to the court house for a judge to decide on the case. They may not want that because of the possible negative publicity that would come from the case and the entire thing would cost them more money. The Stress Is Taken Off Of Your Shoulders It can be hard to try to figure out what to say, how to say it, and when to say it when you are trying to handle your own personal injury case. After all, a few wrong words can ruin an entire case so you need to be extra cautious. Generally speaking, hiring a skilled personal injury attorney will allow you to no longer have to worry about that. Plus, you will be able to put forth more effort into resting and following all of the orders from your doctor. You will simply wait to hear back from your attorney with any offer that is put forth by the guilty party. You can then discuss whether you want to accept that offer or reply with a counteroffer in order to receive compensation that is more in line with what you deem as fair. It is important to make sure that you are hiring your personal injury attorney, like Bennett & Sharp PLLC, as soon as possible. The sooner you can have an expert handling the case for you, the sooner you will end up with the result you...

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What Can You Do To Try To Avoid Being Part Of A Traffic Injury Or Fatality Statistic?

Posted by on Mar 2, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What Can You Do To Try To Avoid Being Part Of A Traffic Injury Or Fatality Statistic?

Automobile-related fatalities are the leading cause of death among people aged 3 to 33, according to statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, studies also indicate that drivers could be doing more to protect themselves and others from the dangers of the road. Here are the most common causes of traffic accidents and what you can do to prevent becoming part of the statistics. 1. Distractions A lot of people equate distracted driving only with texting, but it isn’t quite that simple. Texting while behind the wheel is certainly one example of distracted driving—however, so is talking on the phone, trying to work the GPS system while in motion, looking for a better channel on the radio, eating lunch after running through a drive-thru while navigating traffic on the way back to work, and chatting with friends about your plans. 2. Speeding Speeding is actually the second most dangerous traffic habit. However, it’s important to understand that speed limits aren’t arbitrarily assigned—they’re actually researched and designed to accommodate the traffic patterns on the road with the maximum efficiency and minimum fatalities. Keep yourself under the speed limit by watching for posted changes, especially in urban areas where school zones and rush hour traffic can cause the maximum allowable speeds to vary depending on the time of day. That helps reduce auto-pedestrian accidents as well. If you have to pass a slower vehicle, like a bus, make sure that you do so when the bus is in motion, not letting passengers on and off. 3. Fatigue Driver fatigue, also known as drowsy driving, is one of the top causes of accidents in the United States. At a certain point, sleep deprivation becomes similar to intoxication—and drowsy drivers can fall asleep even while traveling at high rates of speed. You can avoid being a drowsy driver by trying to get more sleep (drivers who get 6 hours of sleep or less are at the most risk) and making sure that you don’t allow any sleep disorders, like sleep apnea or insomnia, to go untreated. In addition, if you find yourself yawning, drifting across lanes, hitting the rumble strip, or missing your exits, consider pulling off to the side of the road to nap before you go any further. If you’re on a long trip, prevent drowsy driving by making frequent stops to get out of the vehicle and stretch or plan to break the trip out over a couple of days. While you can do your part to avoid being part of the problem, you may still not be able to avoid being in an accident with another, less safety-minded driver. If that happens, consider contacting a car accident attorney for advice on what you might need to do to recover fair compensation for your...

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Is it Possible to Get More Money if Your Condition Worsens After Settling With Workers’ Comp?

Posted by on Jan 6, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Is it Possible to Get More Money if Your Condition Worsens After Settling With Workers’ Comp?

Most people settle their workers’ comp claims with the expectation their injuries would heal. Unfortunately, sometimes things happen and the person experiences additional and often unexpected medical problems related to the injury. Since their claims have already been settled and closed, people in this situation may wonder if it’s possible they can reopen their cases and get more money. It depends on the circumstances. Here’s what you need to know about this issue. Clincher Deals One thing that will have a major impact on whether you can get more money for your worsened condition is whether your settlement included a “clincher” clause. Also known as a “full and final release” or “compromise and release”, this clause basically states the only money you’ll get from workers’ compensation insurance for your injury is what you negotiated for at the time your case was open. Essentially, this clause forces you to give up any rights you may have had to future compensation related to the same injury. Before you do anything else, peruse the settlement papers you received for your claim to determine if it includes this clause. Don’t be disheartened if it does. It may still be possible to defeat this clause in a few different ways. First, clincher deals aren’t legal in every state. For instance, Minnesota doesn’t allow final release agreements except in very rare instances. It’s a good idea to contact an attorney who can help you research the laws in your state to determine if the clause is allowed. If it isn’t, then you could file a lawsuit to have the court overturn the clause so you can reopen your case and request more money for your ongoing medical costs. Second, even in states where clincher deals are allowed, these agreements often must be approved by a judge or the workers’ comp board. For example, the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board must approve all compromise and release agreements in California. If the agreement wasn’t approved or the contract doesn’t adhere to the requirements of the law, it may be possible for you to get the settlement voided and reopen the case so you can negotiate a new agreement.  A third way to get around this clause is to prove there was some type of fraud involved in the settlement of your claim. For instance, if your employer lied about the facts which resulted in you obtaining less money than you would’ve been awarded, you can have the clause set aside and get your case reopened. It’s important to note that this can be challenging to do, especially if several years have passed since the case was heard. It’s essential that you have evidence of wrongdoing before proceeding with this option. Statute of Limitations If your contract doesn’t have a full and final release clause, then you are typically able to reopen your case to get more money for a worsened injury. The challenge here, though, is that the state may limit how long you have to reopen your case after it’s been closed. In Washington, for instance, you have seven years from the date your claim was first closed to petition the court to reopen it. Additionally, you typically must be able to prove that your condition deteriorated significantly since the time when you settled your claim. This...

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What Happens To Your Social Security Disability Benefits When You Go To Prison?

Posted by on Nov 29, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What Happens To Your Social Security Disability Benefits When You Go To Prison?

Being incarcerated often means losing out on the benefits you might have taken for granted on the outside. If you were receiving Social Security disability or SSI benefits, then you might want to know what happens to those benefits once you’re behind bars. Read on to learn what happens to your benefits before, during, and after your stint in prison. Your Benefits Freeze While You’re Serving Time From the moment you walk through those prison gates, it’s only a matter of time before your Social Security disability and SSI benefits come to a temporary end. Here are a few important facts to know about your benefits while you serve time: Any incoming disability or SSI payments will be suspended within 30 days of being officially incarcerated. If you’re not currently receiving disability or SSI benefits, then you may find yourself ineligible to receive these benefits as long as you’re incarcerated. Your disability and SSI benefits may remain suspended for up to a year. Afterwards, you could be at risk of losing your benefits altogether. Right about now, you’re probably wondering why you’re losing out on your Social Security disability and SSI benefits while you’re incarcerated. The simple answer is that your disability and SSI benefits are a form of supplemental income that helps you meet your basic needs, including shelter, food and medical care. Once you’re incarcerated, that responsibility shifts to your local corrections department. It could be argued by the Social Security Administration that since your basic needs are being met through the prison system, there’s no need to continue paying out benefits to incarcerated individuals. There is an exception to the rule, however. If you participate in an approved vocational rehabilitation program throughout your incarceration, you may be able to receive your disability and SSI benefits as long as the terms of the rehabilitation program are met. If you’re concerned about losing your retirement benefits during your time in prison, you may be able to apply for a disability freeze before you start serving your sentence. A disability freeze effectively prevents your retirement benefits from shrinking after long periods spent earning little to no income. Your Spouse and Children May Continue to Receive Benefits Although you won’t be able to benefit from your Social Security disability and SSI benefits while you’re in prison, your family may remain eligible to receive these benefits. The SSA will continue to pay benefits to your dependent spouse and/or children. However, they must remain eligible to receive these payments throughout your incarceration. You Can Restart Your Benefits After Prison After serving your time, you’ll be able to resume any disability or SSI benefits that were suspended during your incarceration. However, if it’s been over a year since your benefits were suspended, the SSA may require you to resubmit an application for benefits. Fortunately, your eligibility for Social Security benefits won’t be impacted by your felony conviction. Even if you’re on parole or participating in a home monitoring program, you’ll be able to receive your benefits as long as you remain compliant with the terms of your parole or home confinement. If you transition from prison to a halfway house, however, you won’t be able to receive any Social Security benefits until your release. The same condition also applies if you’re transferred to...

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Does Workers’ Comp Cover Injuries to Fetuses and Babies?

Posted by on Oct 3, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Does Workers’ Comp Cover Injuries to Fetuses and Babies?

If you are hurt on the job, chances are pretty good your medical bills and other compensable damages will be paid by workers’ comp. However, what if you were pregnant or nursing at the time, and your child was also hurt by something that occurred at work? Will he or she also be covered by the workers’ compensation insurance? The answer is that this depends on the circumstances of the injury. Here’s what you need to know about getting reimbursed for injuries to an unborn or newborn baby. Only Derivative or Collateral Injuries Covered The courts put the harm to fetuses and babies into two types of categories: derivative and independent. Derivative harm (also called collateral) is injuries the child sustains as a consequence of the mother’s injuries. For instance, the mother is impaled with a pole that also tears through the amniotic sac and hurts the child. The child’s injuries are a direct result of the mother’s physical injury. On the other hand, independent harm consists of injuries that occur to the child separate from anything that happens to the mother. For instance, a mother is exposed to a chemical at work that gives her cancer. She also passes the chemical to her newborn through her breast milk, and that causes developmental delays. The child’s injury occurred independent of the mother’s illness. Workers’ compensation only pays for derivative injuries to children resulting from harm done to the mother. The only way to recover money for fetuses and babies who suffer independent harm is to sue the company directly for compensation. This is actually the more preferable option because workers’ compensation often limits the amount of money you can recover. If your child suffers lifelong health complications because of something that occurred at work, you may not receive enough money to cover medical bills and other expenses. A personal-injury lawsuit significantly increases the probability you’ll get a fair settlement that takes your future needs into consideration. Challenges to Obtaining Compensation Getting workers’ compensation insurance to pay an injury claim for harm done to a fetus or baby can be very challenging, and the company—and even your employer—will make a number of arguments as to why the child is not eligible for benefits. One response you may receive is that the fetal injury is not connected to the workplace. This is common in cases where the injury is an illness. The insurance provider may try to argue the child was exposed to other toxins or materials that caused the injury. You would need to provide medical proof that exposure to something in the environment at work is the most likely culprit. This can be done by submitting tests of breast milk or amniotic fluid showing the presence of toxins or showing the medical problems your child is experiencing are the typical result of being exposed to the chemical in question (e.g., exposure to certain solvents can cause cleft lip). Another argument you may face is that, in some states, family members are barred from filing claims for losses they sustained because of the employee’s accident. For instance, a wife can’t ask for money for loss of companionship if she and her husband can no longer become intimate with each other. The insurance company may extend this to include any injuries fetuses...

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Understanding Reasonable Suspicion And How It Can Help Your Case When Charged With DUI

Posted by on Jul 19, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Understanding Reasonable Suspicion And How It Can Help Your Case When Charged With DUI

Being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), also known as driving while intoxicated (DWI) in some locales, is not only humiliating, it can also be a devastating personal experience. The consequences of a DUI conviction range from loss of driving privileges to high fines to even jail time in some circumstances. That is why it is critical to vigorously fight for your acquittal if you have been arrested due to police error or misconduct. If you have been wrongly arrested and charged with a DUI, then you owe it to yourself to understand what should be done to protect your rights. One way you can defend yourself is by identifying the specific actions where a police officer may have failed in their duties; in fact, one of the most common mistakes made by police is not having reasonable suspicion when making a stop and DUI arrest. Below is more information on this important legal principle and how it can help you defend yourself from unlawful prosecution: Before you may be legally pulled over for any cause, police officers must have a reasonable suspicion or probable cause that a crime or offense has occurred. The United States Constitution, as well as laws within many of the fifty states, prohibit pulling over drivers at random. The only exception permissible is for the purpose of checking drivers at a DUI checkpoint, and even then, proper procedures must be followed for the check to be legally valid. When an officer pulls over a driver for DUI, they must be able to articulate a lawful reason for the traffic stop. It is important to keep in mind that reasonable suspicion does not have to be related to DUI, however, as any valid reason for the stop is sufficient to guide the officer to the next level of probable cause. That means a stop for a broken tail light, expired license plate or speeding, for example, are all legitimate exercises of reasonable suspicion; once the driver is pulled over, the officer may legally shift their investigative focus to possible intoxicated driving. However, there are countless situations where a police officer may not pull over a driver simply because the standard of reasonable suspicion is not met. Below are a few examples where a traffic stop would be unlawful for lack of reasonable suspicion: Stops based on driver age, race or other identifiable attributes – Reasonable suspicion cannot be claimed if a police officer pulls over a driver due to their own personal attributes. For example, it is not a lawful stop if a black driver is pulled over in a predominantly white neighborhood, and a possible DUI arrest from that point forward would be unlawful. Stops based on a hunch or guess – Even though it may be a reasonable hunch to pull over a driver at 3 AM on a lonely stretch of highway, with an assumption they are likely intoxicated, there is still a lack of reasonable suspicion and subsequent arrest is unlawful. Police officers are not permitted to use hunches or intuition as a substitute for reasonable suspicion. Stops based on a mistake in interpretation of the law by an officer – The courts have held that police officers must accurately interpret and enforce the law for reasonable suspicion to exist....

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Need A Payday Loan? Avoid These 3 Things To Protect Yourself From Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Woes

Posted by on Jun 2, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Need A Payday Loan? Avoid These 3 Things To Protect Yourself From Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Woes

Are you experiencing financial trouble and considering taking out a payday loan to get you through the tough times? If so, you’ve got to be very careful about where, how, and when you get that loan. While payday loans are considered unsecured debt and are dischargeable under chapter 7 bankruptcy, there are some situations in which this doesn’t hold true. Read on to learn 3 things you absolutely shouldn’t do, just in case you have to file for bankruptcy after taking out a payday loan. 1. Don’t Borrow Right Before You File If your financial situation is especially grim, don’t even think about taking out that payday loan. If you do take out a payday loan and are forced to file for bankruptcy in the near future, the bankruptcy court could view the loan as fraudulent activity. Since your budget is tight right now and payday loans have exceptionally high interest rates, the lender could argue that you had no intention of repaying the loan. If the court agrees with the lender, you could face steep fines and up to 5 years in jail. If you truly are running out of money with no way to pay your bills, it’s best if you just file for chapter 7 bankruptcy now instead of trying to buy yourself some time with a payday loan. 2. Don’t Borrow From Tribal Lenders Tribal nations are protected under sovereign immunity; they’re considered independent nations and therefore are allowed to operate under their own set of tribal laws. If you secure a payday loan from a tribal lender and your state’s bankruptcy court declares that loan dischargeable under chapter 7 bankruptcy, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be discharged under tribal law. You won’t be required to pay the loan back under state bankruptcy law, but there is a chance that your lender will still attempt to collect their debt. While you’d normally be able to stop aggressive collection practices under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, this won’t work against tribal lenders since they can’t be sued unless they waive their sovereign immunity. If you shop for a payday loan online, pay close attention to the contact information of the lender. If the information shows that the lender is located on tribal territory, do not accept the loan. 3. Don’t Post-date Checks Many payday loan lenders require borrowers to submit post-dated checks upon securing their loan. When you file for chapter 7 bankruptcy, an automatic stay takes effect immediately. This stay prohibits all debt collectors from attempting to recover their money from you while you sort out your financial situation. However, since automatic stays do not apply to negotiable instruments, any post-dated checks that you have provided to a payday lender may still be cashed after your automatic stay takes effect.  To avoid making your difficult financial situation even worse in the event you should need to file for bankruptcy, never post-date checks for payday loan lenders. Instead, only agree to loans in which you can hand-deliver or mail payments to your debtor at the time they are due. This will ensure that, should you file bankruptcy before your payday loan is paid off and the loan is discharged, the debtor will not be able to pursue any further collections.  In most cases,...

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