What Happens to My Assets During Bankruptcy?

Personal Injury Lawyer

When you file for bankruptcy protection, the court sees all of your assets and property as a way to pay your debts. However, the bankruptcy code exempts some property, while the rest is not exempt. The portion that is not exempt is commonly called nonexempt assets. Some examples are real estate other than your primary residence, valuable collectibles, and jewelry.

Nonexempt Assets and Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

The court can order the sale of any nonexempt assets to pay your debts. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the process is straightforward. The nonexempt assets are sold, and the proceeds go to pay off your creditors in full or in part. If you don’t have any nonexempt assets to sell, the case is called a “no-asset” case, and the creditors go unpaid.

Nonexempt Assets and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy


Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves entering into a repayment plan to pay off your debts so that you can keep your property if you adhere to the payment schedule. However, Chapter 13 bankruptcies still involve nonexempt assets. The debtor must pay the creditors an amount at least equal to the value of nonexempt assets.

Laws Related to Nonexempt Assets

State and federal laws set out the definitions of exempt and nonexempt assets, and statutes vary some by jurisdiction. For example, some states let you choose whether to apply the state or federal exemption in your bankruptcy. You can select the system that enables you to keep the property you most prefer. A qualified bankruptcy attorney can help you decide which system most works to your advantage.

Keeping Your Assets

Here are a few options that may allow you to keep your assets in bankruptcy.

  • Before you file for bankruptcy protection, you can try to sell the assets yourself and use the money to pay your creditors. While it is more work, you may be able to avoid bankruptcy and its impact on your credit. However, you should know that if you attempt this and still have to file bankruptcy later, the court may find that you tried to hide the property, which constitutes fraud. Trustees can take the assets back from the buyer or deny the discharge of your debt. They can even seize exempt property.
  • If you have already filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can petition the trustee to let you keep an asset and pay the value of it.
  • You may be able to swap a nonexempt asset for an exempt one.
  • It may be possible is to convert from Chapter 7 to Chapter 13, which involves keeping your assets through a payment plan.

Bankruptcy is a complicated process, and making decisions without counsel is unwise. Find a qualified local attorney, like a bankruptcy law firm in Memphis, TN, who understands the rules in your jurisdiction to guide you through the process.

 


 

Thank you to the Law Firm of Darrell Castle & Associates PLLC, for their insight into bankruptcy law.

How Competent Are Big Truck Drivers?

Truck drivers are responsible for every aspect of the safe operation of their rigs while out on the road. Whether they’re hauling garbage, consumer goods, or hazardous materials, these large trucks weigh 30,000 pounds or more and are potentially deadly in the hands of someone driving irresponsibly. The size of these vehicles — especially the semi-trucks — makes them more challenging to drive. They have larger blind spots that require specialized mirrors, and even with those properly installed, drivers must be exceptionally vigilant in watching for smaller vehicles.

What Kind of Training Do Big Truck Drivers Get?

In the United States, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets the standards for big truck drivers who must pass specific written and practical tests to operate these vehicles. The license is usually called a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) or a similar term, and it varies by state. Here are some of the requirements:

  • Initial training specific to the type of vehicle
  • Annual training which may include classroom sessions and time behind the wheel
  • A physical exam every two years to make sure the driver is healthy enough to manage the truck
  • A clean driving record — failure to maintain this year-to-year can result in the loss of the license

Additional requirements apply to those carrying specialized types of cargo, such as toxic chemicals, tanker trucks, or double trailers.

What Kind of Rules Must Truck Drivers Follow on the Road?

Truck drivers must follow more specific rules than those for regular passenger cars. For example, truck drivers can’t transport alcoholic beverages unless it is their cargo. Here are a few other rules that apply to those hauling goods and not passengers:

  • Drivers must keep a digital log of when they drive and when they take breaks, and they must have the records ready for inspection at all times.
  • For trucks hauling cargo and not passengers, drivers cannot be on the clock for more than 14 hours, and they can only drive 11 of those hours.
  • For every eight hours on the clock, drivers must take a 30-minute break.
  • Drivers cannot drive more than 60 to 70 hours after working 7 to 8 days in a row.

Unfortunately, not everyone follows these rules in detail. When FMCSA regulations go unheeded, accidents can happen. Drivers are responsible for what happens while on duty. If you or someone you love is injured in an accident caused by a negligent truck driver, contact a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer, like a truck accident lawyer in Woodland Hills, CA, to learn about your rights under the law.

Thanks to Barry P. Goldberg, A Professional Law Corporation for their insight into some of the rules big truck drivers must follow on the road. 

Is Your Case Big Enough For an Attorney?

Injury Attorneys

Most people never expect to be involved in a personal injury lawsuit. This results in many people having a lot of questions, such as, “Is my case big enough for a lawyer to handle?” It is actually quite important for you to have an attorney representing you regardless of how big your case is. This guide will explain why this is the case and everything you need to know about hiring an attorney.

Is Your Case Big Enough?

There is no such thing as a case that is too small for a lawyer to handle. If you are planning on filing a lawsuit or have had a lawsuit filed against you, you need to hire an attorney immediately. Theoretically, your case could be big enough that multiple lawyers would need to work together on it, but no case is too small for hiring an attorney to be worthwhile. The only time it may be okay to represent yourself is if you are contesting a traffic ticket. Personal injury cases are much more serious, so you should never try to represent yourself.

Why Is Hiring an Attorney So Important?

Why is it so important to have an attorney who can represent you? Many people underestimate just how complicated a court case is. To understand what is going on and make appropriate decisions, it usually takes years of intensive study and training. More than simply understanding the legal process that takes place in a courtroom, however, you need the knowledge to make the right appeals at the right times and submit arguments in the proper way. If you do not do everything correctly, the court will not be able to accept your arguments. An incorrectly presented argument is no different from not submitting an argument at all.

Additionally, it is extremely hard to represent yourself without bias even if you did have legal training. Most attorneys will still choose to hire a lawyer rather than represent themselves for exactly this reason. It is simply a very difficult challenge to present an argument without bias when you are the defendant or plaintiff.

Hiring an Attorney

The main reason people consider representing themselves is that they do not think they can afford an attorney. There are usually many different types of legal aid options available to make the cost more manageable. Additionally, if you are the plaintiff in your case, you likely can pay your attorney once you have won the case and received a settlement. Hiring an attorney, like a personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia, PA, should always be the first step you take.

Thank you to the experts at The Wieand Law Firm for their input into personal injury law.

Wrongful Death Lawyer FAQ: Is a drowning considered to be a wrongful death?

Wrongful Death FAQs

The tragic loss of a loved one can be emotionally exhausting. When the death was something that might have been preventable, or sudden, such as drowning, feelings of shock and confusion might overwhelm you. Questions about whether or not the death could have been avoided consume your thoughts. You may be looking for the answers to these questions, but as of yet, have been unable to find them. If you can relate, now is the time to consider calling a wrongful death lawyer for help and advice. If you lost a loved one to a drowning accident, compensation may be available.

Is Drowning Considered to Be A Wrongful Death?

If you believe that another person’s actions, or lack of, caused or contributed to the drawing, it may be possible to recover damages. A drowning can occur in any number of ways, but often happen because of:

  • The inability to swim
  • The water was too deep
  • There was a strong undertow
  • The victim was forcefully held down
  • The victim hit their head and was knocked unconscious in the water
  • Jumping into the water
  • Defective pool drains, pumps, or ventilation
  • Intoxication

When the victim forcefully drowned, it may be considered manslaughter or homicide. In this case, the defendant may face criminal charges. As a wrongful death lawyer might explain to you, it may be possible to file a civil claim against the defendant even if they are sent to prison and the owner of the pool.

Who Could Be Liable for a Drowning?

  • The owner of the pool
  • The manager or company of the pool
  • The maker of the pool and/or pool supplies
  • Lifeguards
  • A school
  • A swimming teacher
  • A company of a swimming-related activity

Drowning While Boating 

Although many drownings occur in swimming pools, some occur during a watercraft or boating activity. This can happen when:

  • The boat capsizes
  • The boat is going too fast
  • The victim was struck by a boat or boat propeller
  • The victim was participating in a water sport and was caught in a rope or fell off and drown
  • Life jackets were not provided to swimmers

In the case of a boat accident that resulted in a drowning, a wrongful death lawyer might seek to hold the following parties responsible:

  • The driver of the boat
  • The owner of the boat
  • The company of the tour service
  • The boat manufacturer

Call a Wrongful Death Lawyer if You Lost Someone to Drowning

Right now might be a very difficult time in your life. The last thing you may want to do is go through a civil claims process. However, a wrongful death lawyer can take care of most things so you can focus on healing. By filing a claim you might not only cover some of your lost expenses, but many people also find that it brings them some degree of closure. If you would like to know more about your case, call a wrongful death lawyer, like a wrongful death lawyer in Bloomington, IL, now.

Thank you to Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols for their insight into wrongful death law.

When a Spouse Makes a False Domestic Abuse Claim During Divorce

False Domestic Abuse Claims

If your marriage is headed towards divorce, then both you and are partner are likely to be especially sensitive during this time. If you get into a heated argument, there is a chance that is could tip over into aggression and violence. So what happens if one spouse makes a false domestic abuse accusation in the midst of divorce? As the accused spouse, what can you do to protect yourself from consequences that you don’t deserve? The very first thing you must do is contact a lawyer who is experienced in family law and criminal defense cases, like a family law lawyer in Rockville, MD.

Allegations of Violence

If the court hears that one spouse has been arrested for domestic violence, it can have a serious impact on their ability to obtain custody over children. A false accusation not only causes even more friction between the spouses, but it can result in the entire family being torn apart. Allegations of violence during divorce or separation proceedings aren’t uncommon. In certain instances, these accusations are supported by obvious facts or evidence, but in other instances, one spouse may have wanted to seek revenge against the other.

The Definition of Abuse

Let’s say your spouse has accused you of domestic violence. As your lawyer may tell you, based on state and federal law, the term “abuse” doesn’t just include physical harm. If one spouse harasses, intimidates, blocks a door during an explosive argument, or does anything else to cause fear in the other, they may have to reap the repercussions of these actions. Your lawyer will need to know every single detail in the supposed domestic violence incident so they can create a defense that is most appropriate to the circumstances.

Clearing Your Name 

After being accused of domestic violence, it is imperative that you act swiftly so that it doesn’t impact your divorce case. Your lawyer can talk with you about various strategies to help get the charge dismissed if possible. It often takes the experience of a seasoned lawyer to navigate such a tense and complicated situation. Remember that just because you were arrested for domestic violence doesn’t mean that you are automatically considered guilty. Do not give up hope that you can clear your name.

Examples of Defense Strategies

Depending on the factors of the supposed domestic violence or abuse incident, your lawyer may recommend using specific defense strategies. For instance, if your spouse made up the abuse incident entirely and you weren’t even there at the location and time that he or she claims, then a potential defense could be to establish a strong alibi. With help from your lawyer, you can show proof that you were somewhere else at the time.

Or, perhaps you were there but hadn’t committed the acts that are so claimed against you. Your lawyer can work to weaken your spouse’s story by scrutinizing the evidence against you. The burden of proof will be on the prosecution, who will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty.

Thanks to the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into false domestic abuse claims during the divorce process.

Elements of a Valid Personal Injury Case

Personal Injury Lawyer

Getting hurt and suffering accidents are a part of life. You can expect some bumps and bruises along the way. However, if someone else’s negligent, reckless behavior causes you pain and suffering, you may be entitled to financial help. A personal injury attorney can help determine whether your claim has merit. Before you file a lawsuit against another party, speak to an experienced lawyer and consider the factors that may affect whether you win your case.

The Severity of Your Injuries

The court will want to look at how you were injured, what part of your body was injured and how the injury has affected you. For example, claiming damages for a bruised knee is not nearly as likely to be successful as claiming damages for a cracked skull. If your injuries require extensive treatment, multiple surgeries and a long recovery, your chances of winning your case increase dramatically. The court will take into account how the injury is limiting your daily activities and whether it is preventing you from working.

When the Injuries Occurred

If you are injured in a car accident, workplace incident, slip and fall or by any other means, you should not wait to seek medical care. Similarly, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible if you are thinking about taking legal action. The faster you act, the more likely you are to achieve the outcome you want. If you delay filing a lawsuit, this could reflect negatively to the court.

Was There Negligence?

Sometimes, you may simply be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Your injuries may have come from bad luck or poor timing do to no one’s fault. You can’t expect much of a case in these situations. Your personal injury case largely depends on whether another person or entity deliberately causes your accident. The court will determine whether the other party harmed you on purpose out of maliciousness. Also, if the other party failed to take appropriate steps to create a safe environment, you may have a case. This often happens with businesses or medical providers.

Treatment and Recovery Costs

Your claim award will be close to the amount of your medical bills. The court may not award you much, if anything, if the costs were minimal or if you failed to go to the doctor.

Before you pursue a personal injury case, evaluate the events surrounding your accident. Then, visit with a Memphis personal injury lawyer to see if your claim warrants a lawsuit.

 


 

Thanks to Wiseman Bray, PLLC for their insight into personal injury claims and elements of a valid case.

3 Common Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Not every doctor has a perfect track record for treating patients. Unfortunately, even after all the training and experience some doctors have, accidents happen and patients find themselves in the middle of medical malpractice lawsuits. If this sounds like what you’re going through, you could benefit from the assistance of a medical malpractice lawyer, like a medical malpractice lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT. One of the first things you might ask is whether your situation qualifies for a medical malpractice case. Each situation is different, but the following are three common medical malpractice cases that lawyers fight.

Misdiagnosing a Patient

There are many ways in which a doctor can misdiagnose a patient. He or she could fully examine the patient and determine that the patient has a condition other than what he or she actually has. The doctor could also tell the patient there’s no discernible illness, or the doctor could tell the patient that their illness mental, rather than physical, or vice versa. Unfortunately, when a patient is misdiagnosed, necessary treatment isn’t received. In some cases, patients don’t get treated at all, and in others, they are treated incorrectly. Keep in mind, not every misdiagnosis qualifies as medical malpractice. For it to qualify, the doctor would have had to fail to provide reasonable care that any other doctor would have provided in the same situation.

Failing to Properly Treat a Patient

It’s possible a doctor will get the diagnosis correct, but fail to properly treat the patient. This often happens when a doctor has taken on too many patients and people begin to fall through the cracks. Instead of providing proper care and proper treatments for a few patients, the doctor provides improper care for many patients. This is not living up to the basic standard of care for which doctors are required to live up to, and this failure to treat could result in the doctor being sued.

Errors During Surgery

A surgery could go wrong in many ways, but just because a surgery is not successful doesn’t mean the doctor was negligent. There are some gray areas, which is why a lawyer is your best bet in getting deserved compensation. Some errors during surgery that could result in a lawsuit include using instruments that are not sterile, performing the wrong procedure, administering the wrong amount of anesthesia, and other similar situations.

Getting the Legal Representation You Deserve

These few types of medical malpractice are certainly not the only reasons you can sue a medical professional. There are a host of other situations that qualify for medical malpractice, so contact a lawyer to get the legal representation that will get you on the way to recovering damages.

 


 

Thanks to Rasmussen & Miner for their insight into some common medical malpractice cases. 

How to Motivate Your Spouse into Making Alimony Payments

Alimony Payments

For some married couples, divorce may just be inevitable. After separating, the sensitive topic of alimony may be a main topic of dispute. The spouse who had more solidified financial security during the marriage may have to help financially support the less-earning spouse until he or she has gotten settled. Alimony is often court-ordered, and there can be serious consequences for spouses who just don’t want to give their ex any money. If your spouse is behind on alimony payments or hasn’t given you the full amount for quite some time, we recommend meeting with an attorney for insight on how to get your spouse to pay.

Pause Before Action

It is entirely possible that your spouse is in the hospital for a severe injury or illness, or lost his or her job which has caused lack of payments. If there is a good reason for being behind on alimony payments, you may be able to work out an agreement with your spouse. Pausing and seeking a bit of understanding can prevent unnecessary conflicts from arising. However, it is still imperative that your spouse notifies the court of an unexpected event which has led to him or her being unable to pay.

If you work out a temporary arrangement with your spouse without court intervention, please have an attorney review your draft first, to safeguard your rights and see that both of you benefit.

Wage Garnishment

A paying spouse may eventually start to notice that his or her paychecks are not as much as they used to be. One reason for this change may be that the judge decided to enforce wage garnishment, to get the recipient spouse reliable alimony payments. An employer is obligated by law to abide by these court orders, so a spouse that tries to dispute the garnishment with their boss is unlikely to be successful. This arrangement assures that alimony is paid promptly and in full.

Suspended License

A spouse that seems to have just disappeared out of thin air but isn’t suffering from a tragic event, is probably attempting to elude responsibility for alimony payments. The paying spouse may have his or her license suspended and/or confiscated, causing a disruption in the flow of daily life. It isn’t easy to go a long period of time without a proper license, so your spouse may be motivated to get it reinstated by finally sending you payments.

If this situation sounds familiar to you, we suggest consulting with an attorney, as a more full-proof alimony agreement may need to be created. Though a suspended license caused a short-term inconvenience, there is no guarantee your spouse will choose to be consistent from then on moving forward.

Alimony is often a highly disputed and frustrating topic for divorcing spouses to work through. A divorce lawyer in Bloomington, IL can help see to it that you get the type of alimony arrangement and amount required, so getting back onto your feet is possible. Please call a lawyer before your spouse causes you to go deeper into financial ruin due to a lack of payment.

Thanks to Pioletti, Pioletti & Nichols for their insight into family law and how to motivate your spouse to pay alimony.

 

Am I Entitled to Alimony?

Am I Entitled to Alimony?

When two spouses part ways, one may begin struggling financially to keep up on bills related to necessities of living, including things like paying for rent, food, clothing, and medical care. The intention of alimony is for one spouse to help financially support the other, particularly in times of separation and/or divorce. When one spouse encounters financial hardship after the split, the main question to discuss with a divorce lawyer in Rockville, MD may be whether he or she is entitled to alimony. 

Q: What factors may the court consider when deciding alimony?

A: There are a couple of main factors that the court considers before awarding spouse alimony, including whether there is a financial need for the monetary support and whether the other spouse has the capability to provide these funds. In most states, the court uses these two considerations when establishing an alimony court order.

Q: What information may I need to submit to the court?

A: Family law legalities can vary by state, but in general there are a few topics of information the court is likely to inquire about when determining the terms of alimony if the request is approved. It is often recommended that spouses who want to seek alimony talk with a family law attorney for guidance and advice. An attorney can review legal documentation before submittal, in addition to helping organize the information you need to present to the court. Overall, information the courts may request can include but aren’t limited to the following:

  • Financial Records: items like bills, expenses, groceries, personal care costs, and statements for income. It can help to get information about your spouse’s financial status too. An attorney can help you conduct a discovery, which is a method of getting details from another person through a court case. If your spouse has extra income compared to your monetary deficit, it can help increase your chances of being awarded alimony. 
  • Education Level: the court may determine that one spouse needs alimony if there is a significant discrepancy in education level. One spouse may have earned a degree that permits him or her to have a much larger income than the other. Or, a stay-at-home parent who was primarily responsible for raising children may be entitled to alimony as well. 
  • Medical Conditions: if you were diagnosed with a medical condition that impacts your ability to work and earn an income or comes along with costly expenses, you may be eligible for alimony. Depending on your health challenges, the court may award alimony for a designated period of time, or continuously for an ongoing medical condition. 
  • Duration of Marriage: the length of time of the marriage can be a determining factor for the court when evaluating an alimony request. The longer the marriage, the longer duration the receiving spouse may be awarded alimony. 
  • Abusive Behavior: a spouse that was abusive within the marriage and had prevented the other spouse from seeking education or employment, may impact how much is awarded in alimony. Alimony may be awarded to a spouse who now faces an increased need for assistance due to the mistreatment. 

Thanks to the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into family law and alimony entitlement.

Keeping Credit Cards After Filing for Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy can be a difficult but sometimes necessary decision. As consumer debt continues to rise at an ever-increasing rate, businesses and families are finding it harder to make ends meet. While bankruptcy has its disadvantages, it allows you to start over with a clean slate and, in most cases, keep important assets like your home and vehicles.

You might wonder whether you can keep some of your credit cards during and after this process. Credit cards are one of the major sources of high interest debt in the U.S. and when you file for bankruptcy, you cannot apply for new credit during the bankruptcy process and will likely have some issues obtaining new cards after.

Meeting of Creditors

At your 341 hearing, there are some courts that will ask you to turn in your credit cards, and some that will not. It is not within their authority to force you to do this. If you list your cards in your filing, the court will send a notification to all the creditors and notify them of your bankruptcy. Most credit card companies will take this opportunity to cancel your line of credit.

Reaffirming a Balance

Some companies might be willing to work with you to avoid a loss on their end. They will have you sign a new contract and you will continue to be responsible for your old balance, essentially eliminating the benefits of the bankruptcy. Since this type of debt often has a high interest rate and the purpose of the bankruptcy is to eliminate as much debt as possible, it is often not recommended to do this. There are other ways to rebuild your credit after your proceedings are completed.

Accounts with Zero Balance

You might think that a card with a zero balance isn’t relevant and doesn’t need to be listed since it is not technically an outstanding debt. While it is ultimately up to you to list all of your credit cards when you file, one card could slip through the cracks. Keep in mind that even if that company is not directly notified of your bankruptcy, your files are in the public record and credit card companies often keep track of card holders using database scanners and will likely cancel your card at some point.

Filing for bankruptcy can be a complicated process, especially if you are concerned about losing major assets such as your home or vehicles. Speak with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer, like a bankruptcy lawyer in Memphis, TN, to ensure your case is handled fairly and that you come out of this in the most beneficial way possible.

Thanks to Darrell Castle and Associates, PLLC for their insight into what happens to credit cards after filing for bankruptcy.