Getting Ready For Court

Should You File For Bankruptcy Before Or After Your Divorce?

If you and your spouse have made the decision to get divorced and are in poor financial shape, you might also want to talk about filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a great way to get out of debt, but you should determine if it would be better to file before you get divorced or after. To make this decision, you will need to know the following important things. The Main Differences In The Two Types Of Bankruptcy Chapters Chapter 7 bankruptcy offers forgiveness for all unsecured debts, and this is often the preferred chapter because of that. With Chapter 13, you will have to repay some or all of the debts you owe, including unsecured debts. Unsecured debts consist primarily of debts that have no collateral, which are debts like credit cards and medical bills. Another difference is the amount of time each chapter takes. For Chapter 7, your bankruptcy will take effect almost immediately, and this means you will have instant relief from your debt. Chapter 13 takes between three to five years to complete. You Have The Option To File Alone Or Jointly When a person that is legally married decides to file for bankruptcy, the person can file alone or jointly. If you both want to file, you could go ahead and file before or after the divorce. If just one of the spouses wants to file for bankruptcy before the divorce is finalized, they are free to do so; however, it can often be more beneficial in this situation to wait until the divorce is through. Income Is A Major Factor In This Decision When a couple files for bankruptcy, both of their incomes are taken into consideration when determining which chapter they qualify for. When a single person files, only that person’s income is taken into consideration. When a married person files for bankruptcy alone, the income from both of the spouses is taken into consideration. The reason this matters is because a person’s income is the basis for determining whether the person can file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Therefore, if you decide to file together or on your own before the divorce is through, both of your incomes will be counted, whereas if you wait until afterwards, only your income will be counted. This is important because to qualify for Chapter 7, the counted income must be below the median state income. […]

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Negotiating A Personal Injury Claim Settlement: 3 Ways To Establish Nature And Extent Of Medical Treatments Required

When filing a personal injury claim, you can expect the other party to reach out and try to work out a settlement with you in most cases. In fact, 95% of all personal injury claims and lawsuits are settled before trial. The responsible party will throw out some numbers during the settlement to compensate you for both economic and non-economic losses; however, you don’t have to take the first number they give you. Your personal injury lawyer will work to build a strong case in order to negotiate a better settlement for you. While there are many aspects that can be challenged, establishing nature and extent of medical treatments required in the future can help you request for a larger sum to cover your economic losses. Here are 3 ways your attorney can do so. Provide Details on Medical Treatments and Medications Recommended The other party may not fully grasp the severity of your injuries and may simply provide you with a standard sum that is offered in situations similar to yours; however, if the number that you’re given doesn’t sit well with you, your personal injury attorney will look into the type and – most importantly — cost of medications and medical treatments recommended for the future. They will take the expected cost and compare it with the compensation offered. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may require more extensive medical treatments, or you may wish to try a more expensive medication known to be more effective. The details of the options that you’ve been given will be provided to the other party, and your attorney will argue why the medical treatments and medications you’ve chosen are suited to your needs. This can be a good starting point for negotiating a higher settlement for economic losses. Show Proof of Desire to Recover with Ongoing Treatments The other party may not be willing to pay you a large sum for economic losses if they do not believe that you will be using that money in the future to obtain the medical attention you need. To show good faith, your personal injury attorney will request that you provide medical documentation that can prove that you have been making an effort throughout the entire time to recover as quickly as possible. Being able to prove that you were not negligent in receiving ongoing treatment can shine favorably on you in […]

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3 Costly Personal Injury Case Mistakes

If you’ve been injured in a car crash, slip-and-fall, or other preventable accident, you can use the court system to receive compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills, and property damage by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Personal injury lawsuits are common and often fairly straightforward – as long as you can document your injury and costs related to it, and show that the other party is responsible, you’ll probably be able to win your case or agree on a reasonable settlement. However, there are a few mistakes you can make that can seriously jeopardize your eventual award, or even cost you the case entirely. Take a look at some of the costly personal injury mistakes you’ll want to avoid at all costs. Waiting Too Long To File If you watch legal procedural shows, you’re probably familiar with the concept of the statute of limitations – if the police wait too long to file charges, the statute of limitations runs out, and the criminal gets away with it. The same thing can happen in civil cases, like personal injury lawsuits. You can’t wait too long before filing your case, or the statute of limitations will run out and you’ll lose your standing to sue. Different states have different statutes of limitations for personal injury cases. You could have as little as one year to file in states like Kentucky or Louisiana, or as many as six years in states like Maine and North Dakota. Resist the urge to delay filing until you’re done with physical therapy or until you’re back at work full time – that’s one way that time gets away from you, and you could end up losing your right to sue. Most of the time, the statute of limitations clock starts from the time you discover your injury. In most cases, like car accidents, you discover your injury at the time that it occurs. However, in some cases, you may not know right away. For example, a surgical mistake might be discovered long after the actual surgery, so the clock would start when the mistake was discovered, not when the surgery occurred. However, the courts apply a “reasonable person” standard to this rule – if you don’t discover the injury until long after a reasonable person would have (if you refused to go to a doctor despite feeling pain, for example) you could still run out […]

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Been in an Auto Accident? Here’s What You’ll Need to Know About Delayed Injuries

In the immediate aftermath of an auto accident, you might think you’re feeling fine because you didn’t suffer any immediate injuries. Flash forward to several days, weeks, or even months later, when you suddenly start feeling the aches and pains you should have felt immediately after the accident. So what’s happening? Turns out you’ve suffered a delayed injury. Unfortunately, these injuries can be difficult to receive compensation for because of their nature and the way they occur. The following offers an in-depth guide on identifying and dealing with delayed injuries so you can work with an auto-injury lawyer to receive the compensation you deserve. Why and How These Injuries Occur During the accident, your body’s survival mechanisms kick in to help protect you from further injury. These mechanisms include the immediate release of endorphins and adrenaline, two chemicals that help the human body carry out the “fight or flight” response. These chemicals not only help increase the body’s overall strength and reflexes for a brief period but also block out the receptors that enable you to feel pain. These chemicals will eventually wear off, allowing the pain receptors to function as normal. This can result in the delayed onset of pain and soreness in the following days, weeks, or months after the accident. Symptoms to Look Out For If you’ve been in an accident and managed to walk away without any immediate injuries, you’ll want to be on the lookout for the following symptoms over the next several days. Headaches – A headache that develops several days after an accident could be a sign of a serious concussion, a neck injury, or even a potentially serious instance of brain trauma. Back pain – Damaged muscles, ligaments, or nerves can cause back pain to develop shortly after the accident. Neck or shoulder stiffness – Stiffness in the neck or shoulders could signal the onset of whiplash injury. Abdominal swelling, pain, and bruising – If you start feeling severe tenderness or see deep purple bruising, you may be dealing with internal bleeding or other internal injury. Loss of feeling in limbs – This is another symptom that could indicate whiplash injury. Changes in physical function or personality – If you begin to have problems with your vision or hearing, experience a drastic personality change, or experience the onset of depression, you may be dealing with a tremendous brain injury caused by a […]

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Protect Your Interests – Six Important Steps To Take If You Are Ever In A Minor Car Accident

Auto accidents, even the minor ones, can be scary, stressful experiences. What is important in all accidents is to check for injuries, call for police and ambulance services, and remain calm. Following these six steps will give you something to concentrate on and help protect your interests down the line. Gather the Required Car Paperwork Though the Department of Motor Vehicles operates slightly differently in each state, the type of vehicle documentation needed is pretty standard.  Though you carry your driver’s license with you, a current vehicle registration certificate and proof of insurance must be carried in the car. Pull out these documents if you can, and have them ready. You’ll also need them if the accident is a minor “fender bender” with no injuries. Even if you and the other party just opt to exchange information, following the remaining five steps is wise.  . Do Not Apologize You may feel that an apology is appropriate, and it may go against your nature not to offer one. In this case, don’t do it. An apology may be considered an admission of guilt. Be polite to the other driver, but avoid discussing who is to blame for the accident. Your best bet is to call the police and make a formal statement. In most cases, you’ll need the police report to file a claim with your insurance company. That report also helps if you decide to consult an attorney. Most police agencies will give you an accident report number so it’s easier to get a copy of the report if needed. Take Lots of Notes Use your cell phone or any other electronic recording devise to take notes, or even better to record the conversation between you and the other driver. Pen and paper does work for simple note taking, in a pinch. Keep in mind that the other driver may also be taking notes, which is why the “do not apologize” step is so important. Try and get the driver’s name, license number, insurance information, and contact number. If the other party is hesitant, or has no insurance, call and wait for the police. Take Your Own Photos Taking your own photos of the damage and position of both vehicles is wise, even if the police are making their own report. It’s especially important if you and the driver are just exchanging information. This helps avoid an exaggeration of the […]

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The Basics Of Getting A Liquor License In The United States

If you’re in the market for a liquor license, you should be prepared to do a little research and learn the basics. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau regulates items such as interstate transportation of alcoholic goods and the proper labeling of those products. But, liquor licenses are overseen by individual states and sometimes by county agencies. Below you’ll find examples of some state regulations, a definition of some different types of licenses, and a few tips to help with the application process. Researching the Local and State Liquor Laws in Your Area State Alcohol Control Boards govern the production, marketing, and distributing of alcohol within that particular state’s lines. Each state’s laws are different. If you are seeking a license in one state, you must meet the laws in that one state. Getting a second license in a neighboring state requires you to follow the liquor laws of that new state. A sampling of state Alcohol Control Boards and their licensing requirements are listed. California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Licensing regulations in California are divided up by county. The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control lists each county and any specific regulations. For example, Alameda County limits the number of licenses it grants each year. The county holds a lottery. Applicants are notified where they are on the waiting list and are advised to apply within 90 days of the notification. Most California counties operate in this fashion. State of Hawaii’s Liquor Commission and Department of Liquor Control The State of Hawaii works a bit differently. On Oahu, the main island, the Liquor Commission City and County of Honolulu takes care of licensing for that entire island. The Big Island of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui each have their own Department of Liquor Control offices. The application process is similar on all islands and a lottery is not usually needed. Deciding on the Type of License You Need Licenses are granted for different types of businesses. When researching your state laws, find out if that state uses any specific names for their licenses. Tavern licenses are granted to businesses that sell food, but more than 50 percent of their profits comes from alcoholic beverage sales. Sports bars may fall into this category. A restaurant license is awarded when the amount of alcohol served makes up a smaller percentage of the profit, determined by the state. All types […]

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Disability Benefits And Medical Advice: Your Cooperation Is Key

Many people believe that if they have a disability that is expected to last at least 12 months and they make under the income limit (currently $15,720 per year), all they need to do is fill out some paperwork and their social security benefits will be approved. What you might not realize is that you have the obligation to see doctors, some of whom might be chosen by the Social Security Administration (SSA), and to comply with the medical treatment recommended. Here are some considerations for you to keep in mind as you go through the social security application process for disability benefits. You must allow your medical records to be released. Although there are laws put in place to protect your privacy when it comes to your medical records, if you do not allow them to be released to the SSA, then the government has no way of knowing that you are, indeed, expected to remain disabled for at least one year. It is possible that you will need to release records that, to you, have nothing to do with your current disability. For example, although you may be claiming disability because you have hurt your back, the SSA may wish to see records taken by your family doctor pertaining to other illnesses that you have had. If you do not allow access to these records, your claim may be denied. You might have to see an SSA doctor. There are some instances that will prompt the SSA to request that you see one of their doctors. One example might be if you don’t have a doctor whom you are seeing regularly. Another might be if your doctor hasn’t kept complete records or if those records are unavailable for some reason. If the SSA requests that you see one of their doctors for an examination, it’s in your best interest to comply. If the government has to determine whether you are eligible for benefits based on incomplete or missing information, chances are good that your claim will be denied. You must comply with treatment, with a few exceptions. Another reason why a disability claim might be denied is if you do not comply with the treatment recommended by your doctor. By not completing your treatment or by missing your appointments, you might be prolonging your recovery, and the SSA will not want to begin or continue paying benefits if […]

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Shorter Autumn Days: How Darkness Can Impact A Slip & Fall Case

As autumn approaches, the days will naturally get shorter. The night can arrive shortly after work, making your daily travels more challenging. If you slip and fall on someone’s property at night, then you may have an injury case on your hand. The darkness can have a lot of impacts on a slip and fall case. By breaking down different elements, you can see if you have a case and help present different claims to personal injury attorneys. Premises Liability Claim If you are injured while walking in the dark, then you may sue the owner of the property through a premises liability claim. This claim basically states that the property owners did not properly provide you with a safe environment to walk on. This type of liability can apply to both business owners and private home owners. When allowing people on the property, it is expected to have safe conditions for anyone that is visiting the location. For home owners, these claims will likely go through their home owners insurance. For businesses, the claims will likely go through their commercial insurance and liability protection plans. A lawyer can help sort it out and seek the responsible parties for your injuries. As this type of claim moves forward, there are multiple aspects and pieces of evidence that you need to prove in the case. Insufficient Lighting One of the biggest reasons for slipping and falling in the dark is improper lighting. Poorly lit areas can easily lead to a person slipping or falling on pavement or hard ground. A home or business owner has the responsibility to provide proper exterior lighting on walkways, driveways, and parking lots. By using images and videos, you can showcase how the lighting was on the night of your accident. A lawyer can show how simple lighting changes or upgrades would have made a difference in your injury. Walkways and Obstacles In some cases, there may have been walkway obstacles that caused your slip and fall injury. During dark autumn nights, it can be hard to see these obstacles. For example, a rake or wheelbarrow may have been left out during yard clean-up. Those supplies may have resulted in your injury and would become a part of a premises liability claim. Witness statements and your own testimony can showcase how these obstacles caused your injury and ways that they were hard to see while traveling […]

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How To Classify Workers As Employees Or Independent Contractors For Your New Corporation

If you are preparing to start a new corporation, there will be many tasks for you to complete. You will need to find real estate, purchase the equipment and goods you need, and hire people to work for you. As you prepare for this, you may wonder whether it would be better to hire employees or independent contractors, and talking to a corporate lawyer about this is a great place to start. What Is The Main Difference? When people perform work for your company, you must pay them for the work, and there are two ways to set up relationships for people that perform work. The first is by hiring employees. These are individuals that work directly for you who receive regular paychecks from your company. Independent contractors also can perform work for you, but they do not receive regular paychecks. They work on contracts, and you pay them according to their contracted work and rates. This is the main difference between employees and independent contractors. What Are The Benefits Of Hiring Independent Contractors? One of the most significant benefits of hiring independent contractors instead of employees is the money you can save on taxes and benefits. When someone is your employee, you must withhold taxes from their paycheck. In addition, you will have to match certain taxes and pay for them out of your pocket. With employees, you must also provide unemployment insurance compensation, workers’ compensation, and other forms of protection. You may also need to offer benefits to your employees, such as healthcare, 401k plans, and other benefits that will cost your business money. The benefit of having independent contractors is that none of these things exist. You do not have to withhold or pay taxes for these workers. You do not have to give them benefits. You will not have any expenses relating to them, except for the expenses directly stated in the contracts you have with them. Why Wouldn’t You Just Hire All Independent Contractors? After hearing these differences, it might appear that having independent contractors would be the more cost-effective solution for getting the work done. While this might be the case in certain situations, there are rules relating to this. You cannot just hire people to do work for you full time and call them independent contractors. The law strictly prohibits this, and the IRS has many rules and principles that determine how to […]

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What You Should Do If You Believe You’ve Been A Victim Of Police Brutality

Police officers often have to make life-and-death decisions in a micro-instant. And while most will end up making the right call, a few, unfortunately, will abuse the power that’s been given to them. In fact, the nightly news seems to have become a never-ending parade of police brutality stories. Proving police abuse, however, can be a challenge.  Arrested Developments If you’ve recently suffered injuries while being arrested, you will need to prove that the police officer — or officers — used force beyond what was necessary for the situation at hand. For instance, if you were acting violently and were a true threat to those around you or to the officers on the scene, they would have the right to use the force necessary to protect themselves and others. But once you no longer posed a threat, any other force used against you could be deemed abuse. For example, if you were charging at the police officers with a knife and they used a Taser on you, most courts would consider that justifiable or “reasonable and necessary” force.  But if the police officers then continued to Taser you even as you were lying on the ground and not moving, that could be considered excessive force in some cases. The key word here, though, is “could.” Why? Because if the police officers can prove that, in the heat of the moment, they still felt threatened by you, a court might find their actions justifiable. In fact, according to The Guardian, 13 police departments do not have any rules against using a Taser on a suspect that is already in handcuffs and is not posing an “exceptional” threat to others. In addition, a police officer’s actions are typically not judged by any facts that are discovered during an investigation after the incident. So if you, for example, were carrying a water pistol, and you were shot by a police officer, that force may be considered justifiable. Why? Because in the heat of the moment, the officer may have mistaken your weapon for the real thing. The fact that you were carrying a water pistol and not a real gun was not something the police officer knew at the time that you were shot.  Hire a Lawyer This does not, however, mean that you should give up on pursuing legal action if you believe that you were the victim of police abuse. While these […]

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