The Various Chapters in the Bankruptcy Code

Oct 31, 2014 by

The 1.53 million Americans who filed personal bankruptcies in 2010 is a clear indication of the economic predicament suffered by many individuals and families in the US. Besides loss of job, which is a direct effect of poor economy, an accident or illness requiring medical treatment (which has also become too costly), divorce, and other events have contributed to diverting all funds to basic needs rather than to paying monthly bills. The downside of this, though, is accumulation of debts that later become quite impossible to settle.

To protect their interests, creditors usually refer bad debts (debts that have not been paid for at least three consecutive months) to collection firms which, in turn, employ harassing tactics to force the debtors to pay.

Suffering from overwhelming debts, however, is never the total ruin of an individual’s or a business’ financial future.

The US Bankruptcy Code contains chapters designed to save debtors from debts that have become quite impossible to manage. Each chapter is meant to address debtors’ specific financial situation, and basically aimed at eradicating all forms of debts for the individual’s or business’ fresh financial start. The Code offers:

  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy – a liquidation bankruptcy wherein a court-appointed trustee sells some of the “non-exempt” assets and properties surrendered by the debtor (there are exempt properties, like the home, which the debtor can keep and protect). The proceeds from the sale are distributed to the creditors and the remaining amount (if there is any) will be returned to the owner.

The debts to be paid in this chapter are the non-dischargeable debts (usually government-related debts). Debts from which the court can decide to free the debtor can include credit card bills, medical bills, past utility bills, personal loans, and so forth.

  • Chapter 11 or Business Bankruptcy – allows the business firm to either restructure its finances (repayment plan) for more affordable payments, or liquidate some of its properties to be able to pay creditors. Unlike in chapter 7, wherein a business will have to cease operations, chapter 11 allows a firm to stay in business.
  • Chapter 12 Bankruptcy – is designed for family farmers and family fishermen which should have a regular annual income to be considered eligible under this law. which own and operate the fishing or farming business; which own at least 50% of the farming/fishing business; and, which earns a regular annual income.
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy – which is reorganization or restructuring bankruptcy, requires debtors to design a debt payment scheme spanning to three years (can be five years if the court so allows). Under this chapter, all of the debtor’s properties are saved or never sold.

A realistic and objective assessment of a debtor’s financial condition is required regardless of the chapter of bankruptcy the debtor wishes to file. Making sure, therefore, that the lawyer, who will be hired to defend the rights and interests of debtors, is very significant.

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How To Successfully Find And Work With A Lawyer

Aug 25, 2014 by

Do you have to go to court? If so, then you should understand that being prepared is the key to success. This includes finding and working with the best lawyer for your needs. Read the below article for some helpful tips on locating great lawyers to ensure that you win your case.

When you are describing the situation that you are in to your lawyer, refrain from lying. You should be telling them the truth at all times, as this could backfire if you are questioned on the stand and your lawyer does not have all information available. Honesty is the best policy, especially in regards to legal issues.

Real estate lawyers are extremely helpful in legal situations involving real estate, such as buying or selling a home, renting, or lawsuits involving any of these subjects. This will help ensure that you get a favorable ruling each and every time.

Don’t assume that a specialist lawyer is more expensive than a general practitioner. While a specialist might indeed have a higher hourly rate, they might charge you for less overall hours. A specialist will not need to spend as much time learning and researching laws regarding a case that a general practitioner would.

If you have been in an accident, do not hire any lawyer that comes to you and tries to solicit your business. This is not only unethical, but it is against the law. You do not want to hire anyone to handle your legal case if you have to worry about their legal ethics.

As you can see, the importance of finding the right lawyer is crucial for your success in court. Do not settle for mediocrity, especially when it comes to court. Arm yourself with the best lawyer that you can. Now that you have read this article, you should be able to do this. Good luck!

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Consumer Facts on Vehicle Theft Prevention

Mar 15, 2014 by

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) reports that one motor vehicle is stolen every 44 seconds. That figure adds up to more than 70,000 stolen vehicles per year, and only a little more than half are ever recovered. However, about half of vehicle thefts can be traced to the owners’ carelessness. Following a few simple guidelines about staying more alert about what you do with and leave in your car can help lower its risk of being stolen:

When you park, check to be sure the windows are rolled all the way up and lock the doors before you walk away. If it’s dark outside, try to park in an area that is well-lit or in plain view of a security camera. If you have a garage, make room in it for your car – that’s what it’s for!

Always keep your car keys with you. Leaving keys in the car or leaving the car running and then walking away to where you can’t see it invites trouble. Similarly, leaving valuable items such as GPS devices, phones, and purses where people can spot them in your car is unwise. If you need to leave items behind, then lock them in the glove compartment or trunk.

Finally, be sure that your vehicle is equipped with an anti-theft device. Insurance companies take the likelihood of your car being stolen when calculating premiums, and some will give you a discount if such a system is installed.

According to the website of the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter in Dallas, when an individual steals an automobile, the crime is called “grand theft auto.” This is a very serious crime that can carry real and harsh consequences if the car thief is captured and convicted. Oftentimes, car thieves manage to escape uncaught, meaning if your car is stolen, you may not ever see it again.

Take the necessary steps to prevent this type of crime, and don’t give car thieves a reason to make you a victim. Most insurance won’t cover your vehicle in the event of a theft, so it can be incredibly damaging to lose a car through someone else’s selfish actions.

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A Highly Successful da Vinci Hysterectomy for One Female Patient

Oct 17, 2013 by

Before giving her doctor a nod for a da Vinci hysterectomy, Terry spent much time researching in the web and asking lots of women about the procedure, its advantages and disadvantages. Although hysterectomy is a hundred years old surgical procedure, this is a new experience for Terry and, much more, it will be done through a robot, the da Vinci multi-armed robot.

The surgery was meant to remove Terry’s uterus, which has caused her painful and longer periods. This condition has simply been too much for her to be able to perform her mother role well for her three college-bound children.

Her physician, Dr. Hutcheson, has been very helpful with all her questions, informing her as well of the different advantages the robot-assisted surgery has over the traditional open surgery, which requires long incisions, results to much blood loss, much more painful and took a long recovery period.

What Terry was supposed to undergo instead was a minimally-invasive surgery, where the robot (operated by the surgeon seated a few feet away from her) would make multiple tiny incisions, just big enough for the instruments and endoscope to pass through.

A less invasive surgery that was less painful, required almost non-existent stitches and scars and fast recovery – these were what earned Terry’s “yes.”

Terry underwent the surgery on a Friday; on Saturday morning, when Dr. Hutcheson made his rounds, she was already out of bed. The surgery fixed her problem and what’s more, she recovered really fast.

Unfortunately, not all robot-assisted surgeries go so well. Many surgeons actually end up further harming their patients using the da Vinci system, be it through inadequate training or simple failures in control. Being injured by a da Vinci surgical robot can lead to serious complications after what should have been a minimally-invasive procedure.

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Supreme Court Invalidates DOMA, Validates Gay Marriage in California

Sep 3, 2013 by

The highest court in the US voted to strike down a law that prevented gay couples from being recognized by the federal government, which also means a lifting on a ban on gay marriages in California.

The Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 (DOMA) was signed into law by then-president Bill Clinton, and primarily blocked married gay couples from receiving federal recognition as a married couple. This was true even for couples who live in states which allow gay marriages. The block also meant that all the benefits that are traditionally provided to married couples including social Security survivor benefits were denied to married gay couples.

U.S. v. Windsor was a landmark case for gay rights in the US. In a 5-4 decision on June 26, 2013 Section 3 of the DOMA which defined marriage as one between heterosexual couples only was considered unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, citing the protection embodied under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment that safeguards a person against the abuse of government authority.

Because this ruling essentially stripped DOMA of its main purpose, which was to prevent gay couples from being recognized by the federal government, it effectively invalidated it. It also reflected on the legal standing of Proposition 8, which is a ban on gay marriages in California passed by voters in 2008 when the state made it legal for gay couples to be married. By June 28, 2013, two days after the Supreme Court ruling on U.S. v. Windsor, the stay on same sex marriages was lifted by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Accidental Amputation Reattachment Surgery

Jul 26, 2013 by

Accidental amputations are a common gag in cartoons that can always be easily fixed by some tape, glue, or simply moving on to the next scene. However, when these happen in real life, it’s much more traumatic and much less simple to repair. The website of Williams Kherkher, categorizes accidental amputation as a “catastrophic injury”, because of the likelihood of long-term health problems and severely harms the quality of the victim’s life.

The successful reattachment of amputated limbs is a relatively recent medical achievement, first accomplished by surgeons at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1962, when a young boy lost his right arm in a train-hopping accident. In a complicated series of intricate surgeries, including the microsurgery required to reconnect blood vessels and nerves, Everett Knowles’s arm was successfully reattached with full range of use eventually returned.

The success rate of such surgeries is still not 100 percent because the viability depends on what body part was amputated, the condition of the amputated part, the time since the amputation and receiving medical care, and the general health of the injured person, as listed in an article by WebMD. In general, full nerve regeneration has been one of the toughest roadblocks in successful reattachment, but ongoing research continues to improve the outlook for accidental amputation victims.

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Lupus and Social Security Benefits

Jul 20, 2013 by

Systematic lupus erthymatosus, usually known as just lupus, is a disease of the immune system that causes it to attack the body’s own tissues and organs. Although it can affect many major organs, such as the brain, heart, and lungs, lupus can easily be mistaken for other diseases due to similarities in symptoms. However, in many cases, a characteristic rash that WebMD compares to the wings of a butterfly develops across the face.

Severe lupus can be debilitating and prevent a person from being able to work, qualifying these people for Social Security benefits. More specifically, to qualify for benefits due to lupus, the disease must, as described by Disabilitysecrets.com:

  • Affect at least two body systems or organs
  • Cause at least two of these symptoms: frequent exhaustion, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss
  • OR, the repeating symptoms of lupus must cause two of the aforementioned symptoms, resulting in: limitations of activities of daily living, limitations in maintaining social functioning, limitation in completing tasks in a timely manner, or limitations in ability to function “independently, appropriately, and effectively”

There are a few other conditions based on the situation, but these are the basic requirements. A candidate can apply for benefits in several ways, including completing an online application, scheduling an office appointment, finding Social Security filing assistance, or by making a walk-in visit to a nearby Social Security office.

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Motorcycle Safety Equipment Guide

Jul 17, 2013 by

One of the major draws of motorcycling is the feeling of being one with your bike and the road – you are released from the cage of a car and free to feel the wind on your face, maneuver your motorcycle with your whole body, and smell the asphalt boiling under the summer sun.

Unfortunately, according to the website of the Sampson Law Firm, all this freedom also means you’re free to take a spill and get critically injured because there is no cage to protect you. Therefore it becomes imperative to know what qualities to look for in safety gear, especially helmets; the only shield between your skull and the road.

Helmets are required in twenty-one states and an excellent idea in the other twenty-nine. There are two set safety standards for helmets: Department of Transportation (DOT) and Snell Memorial Foundation (Snell). While the DOT sets the minimum requirements, Snell meets these and goes beyond in testing and requirements. Since your head is arguably the most important part of you, you should try to look for a helmet certified by Snell.

When inspecting fit, there should not be any wiggle room, but there also shouldn’t be any uncomfortable pressure points that are likely to become painful after a long ride. And in the case of helmets, more is more – a helmet covering your full face protects more than other helmets that cover less. The website of Allstate also advises avoiding used helmets, because there is “no way to guarantee a used helmet hasn’t been compromised by a crash.”

Besides selecting a well-fitting helmet with full coverage, also suggests finding sturdy closed-toe shoes with ankle support; a long-sleeved jacket and pants made out of a durable, abrasion-resistant material; well-fitting gloves with good grip; and eye protection, such as goggles if your helmet does not have a shield.

Even with reasonable safety precautions it’s still entirely possible that another motorist will be less responsible than you and cause a collision. If this happens, it is advisable to find a motorcycle accident lawyer in your area to help you hold the individual who is responsible for your injuries accountable.

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Types of Product Defects

Jul 15, 2013 by

Baby Einstein recently got into hot water when one of their products, a baby jumper, incurred a hundred customer complaints about injuries inflicted on children by a spring-loaded “sun teether stalk” attached to the jumper. The website of Habush Habush and Rottier S.C. notes that thousands of children are hospitalized for injuries caused by defective child care products every year. And like many other defective products, the Baby Einstein jumper was voluntarily recalled.

Obviously, children’s toys are not the only products that can be found to be defective. Items such as food, cars, and drugs often make the news for dangerous defects as well. According to Nolo.com, these defects can fall under three main categories: manufacturing defects, design defects, and failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions.

Manufacturing defects come from a problem in the factory where the product was built. This means that the specific item you bought is flawed in comparison to the others that were made.

Design defects cause an entire line of products to be defective or dangerous because its blueprints were already imperfect. This kind of defect is a common cause for car recalls, which usually affect a range of models or manufacturing years.

If a product needs to provide adequate warning or instruction, it means that a consumer cannot obviously spot the danger in a product with necessary dangerous elements (for example, hair styling tools, household chemicals, or medicine with side effects) without being warned first. Failure to provide these warnings can result in great personal harm and it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to make sure consumers are sufficiently informed about their products.

Knowing the differences between these defect types can help you provide clear information to the company at fault in a complaint, or better present a liability claim if you have suffered serious damages and wish to seek compensation.

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Birth Injury: A Painful Reality due to Medical Malpractice

Jul 15, 2013 by

Providing patients with timely and correct diagnosis and prescribing to them the correct and effective medication is the kind of quality service doctors and other health care providers owe their patients. Mistakes, but which are minor, may be permitted, so long as these do not worsen the patient’s condition or give the patient another reason for medical worry.

Sadly medical malpractice is real and is a growing concern in many US states. Cognizant of this fact, the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C., a law firm in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, mentions that several patients, indeed, are given subpar medical treatment, that they leave clinics or hospitals with greater, rather than solved, medical concerns.

Medical errors may result not only to worse injuries, but even to untimely death. Either case, the patient or his/her family will be left with greater sufferings, physically and financially-wise. One of the worst effects of medical errors is injury to the newly born. A severely painful reality to every family, a birth injury can instantly turn a couple’s life from joy-filled to severely painful. Birth injuries include newborn infections, brain and spinal damage, brachial plexus or erb’s palsy, cerebral palsy, facial paralysis (any part of the face, maybe temporary or permanent), subconjunctival hemorrhage (rupture of small blood vessels in the eyes), cephalohematoma (hemorrhage between the bone and its covering which usually occurs in the head) and caput succedaneum (where the head’s soft tissue swells during delivery).

The damage these birth injuries pose can be permanent, enough reason to make a child and his/her family’s life miserable. These injuries, however, can be prevented; all it requires is enough care on the part of the doctor and nurses during delivery.

Thus, medical malpractice is nothing more than a result of negligence or carelessness on the part of experts and the people responsible in accomplishing the job (in this case, medical experts or health care providers). Though an unwanted result due to the pain and suffering it causes, someone will still have to be held answerable for the severe harm done. No child or family deserves an injurious result which can easily be avoided. If this result happens make sure you bring the liable party to justice.

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