Bankruptcy is often something we don’t want to contemplate, and the more likely it becomes, the less we want to think about it. Still, if it’s necessary, it’s necessary, and knowing more can help make sure the process is as quick, inexpensive, and painless as possible.

With that in mind, I’ve cobbled together some information from the bankruptcy information available from Erin B. Shank Attorney at Law to answer some basic questions you may have in the lead up to filing for bankruptcy. I hope it’s helpful.

Can I Get Relief from Medical Bills?

It’s hardly news to anyone in America that medicine is expensive. Medical bills are the cause of an enormous number of bankruptcy filings each year. So, in short, yes, you can get a better handle on your medical bills by filing bankruptcy.

Will Bankruptcy Help Me with My Lawsuits?

When the bills really start adding up, it isn’t uncommon to end up on the wrong end of one or more lawsuits from your creditors. This can seem very scary and intimidating, and there is often a fear that even after bankruptcy, these expensive and long legal cases may proceed, leaving it even harder to recover financially. Thankfully, most lawsuits end when you file for bankruptcy.

Can I Reduce or Get Rid of My Tax Debt?

This is a tricky issue. Many people think that there’s no relief available from tax debt. This isn’t always the case. Many federal tax bills can be reduced or even discharged, depending on your circumstances. Even when tax debts can’t be discharged, filing for bankruptcy can reduce the other bills you have, so that you are better able to handle your tax obligations.

Do I Have to Take Debt Management and Credit Counseling Courses Before Filing

Yes, but these can be relatively painless. It may even be possible to take them online.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

It isn’t strictly required, but from the sound of things, it’s probably for the best. Bankruptcy is complicated, and when you’re trying to get your finances back on track, you want to make sure you get the best deal that allows you to get back to where you want to be as fast as possible.

This isn’t everything you need to know about bankruptcy, of course. You’ll need to know what chapter of bankruptcy you should file, what property and income will be protected, and how to start the process, just to begin with. But that information is widely available elsewhere online.

I hope that these answers help guide you towards the right decision for your finances. Bankruptcy isn’t right for everyone, but it is a useful tool that can help you a great deal now and down the line. You don’t have to struggle forever under the burden of huge debts. Knowing your options, and knowing what bankruptcy means for you, is a great first step to knowing if bankruptcy is right in your situation.


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I live in Minnesota, and I have arthritis, so you can imagine how bad that gets in the winter. The cold, and the damp (the lakes are wonderful, but the damp, my goodness, my hands hurt just thinking about it), it can be a real nightmare. Now winter is fast approaching again, which means I probably won’t be able to write much in the coming months. Before that, though, I’d like to put a few words down about workplace injuries.

My arthritis is almost certainly due to my work, or my former work now. I worked my way up from being a secretary to writing business reports for my entire floor at my office. I loved my work, from day one all the way to retirement (early retirement, because of these hands). I loved my boss and my colleagues. I loved the research I got to do for my reports. I loved that what I did felt like it meant something, that people would read what I wrote and really think about it. You see, I always harbored the dream of being a writer. I never got around to that (and never will now, I think), but that job got me pretty darn close to what I had been dreaming of.

Then, my hands started hurting. A little at first and then it became unbearable. By then, though, it was too late. I did some treatment, and it did get to the point it became manageable, but the doctors told me that I had done too much damage to walk it all the way back to how my hands used to be. There were surgery options, but by then, of course, I was an old woman, and I didn’t want that. So, I took early retirement.

I was lucky to be treated so well. I did have to battle a bit with the insurance company about the injury, though, which is what I want to write about here. I was lucky in that I had a great boss who went to bat for me and helped me get the evidence together to prove my injury was work-related. Not everyone has such a boss.

So, if you are in an industry that requires a lot of repetitive motion, I recommend all of you, no matter your current age, start documenting everything that you can related to that repetitive motion. If you work for eight hours straight typing and your hands hurt afterward, go see a doctor and get it on record that it was due to work. Keep track of how much writing you do every day. Talk to your boss about your concerns. Then, at regular intervals, talk to them again.

You need to create an evidence trail that proves your work could cause problems like mine. Otherwise, the insurance company may try to claim your arthritis is your fault.

If you have any questions about this, talk to a lawyer now, even if you’re a youthful twenty-five year old who thinks you’ll never have the same problems as an old lady.

Those problems do come eventually, and I’d just like to see everyone prepared for them.


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A 19-year old female, who was driving Toyota Prius and who had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.20%, collided head-on with a pickup truck along Highway 50 near Stockton Boulevard in Sacramento at about 2:30 a.m. of April 22, 2015. People who witnessed the accident before it occurred said that the female driver was on the fast lane of Highway 50, going eastbound in the westbound lane – she drove in the wrong direction, swerving around other vehicles for several miles. The accident killed her and the three passengers of the pickup truck she collided with.

Drunk driving continues to be a major traffic problem in all US states. Alcohol, as it has always been proven, impairs a person’s motor skills and mental capacity, as well as affects his or her coordination, reaction time, judgment, perception, and overall capability to keep his or her focus on the road. Lack or loss of control over any of these skills can easily result in a crash that may injure or kill not only the drunk driver himself or herself, but also other motorists. It is due to the increased risk of harm that may befall innocent lives which makes drunk driving a major offense.

Though the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level limit for car drivers is 0.08 percent, studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that even at 0.02 percent BAC level, a person’s driving ability and response time can already be affected. The possibility of figuring in a crash increases after 0.05 percent BAC, becoming even higher after 0.08 percent; thus, under all state laws, an individual is considered alcohol-impaired if he or she has a BAC level of 0.08% or higher and, if caught, will be charged with drinking under the influence (DUI) or drinking while intoxicated (DWI).

To reduce the risks due to drunk-driving, some states authorize traffic enforcers to charge a driver with impaired driving or DUI even if such driver’s blood alcohol concentration level is below 0.08 percent, so long as the arresting officer sees that the driver’s abilities are impaired.

In 2013, there were 1,171,935 DUI arrests in the U.S. including in the District of Columbia. In 2010, based on records from the (CDC), the number of arrests was 1.4 million. With these staggering figures some traffic authorities are cannot, but feel comforted, that the number of fatal accidents due to alcohol and/or illegal drugs impairment does not go beyond 10,500 every year. Thanks to stricter laws, the zeal in enforcing these laws, the harsher penalties, and to the efforts of private groups, like the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) which, since 1980, has helped in the passing of new DUI laws, such as the Zero Tolerance law (which prohibits drivers below 21 from having in their blood system any measurable amount of alcohol) and the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) law (which authorizes an arresting officer to confiscate the license of drivers who refuse to take or fail a breath test.

Traffic authorities, however, know that despite all the efforts from government and private groups, people will continue to get behind the wheel of their vehicles even when alcohol-impaired. Thus, the justice system will hold them liable for any damage they get to inflict on those that they injure or kill simply because drinking and driving is an irresponsible act that they willingly chose to do. Besides the criminal charge and penalties, offenders will also face monetary liabilities or compensation which they will legally have to pay victims.

The Chicago car accident attorneys of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, say state that despite the considerable resources that have been dedicated to keeping intoxicated drivers off the road, accidents that are caused by people who are under the influence of alcohol and drugs remains as serious a problem in Chicago as it does in the rest of the country.

There are few accidents that are as thoroughly preventable as those involving an intoxicated driver. That being said, the person who hit you should have known just how dangerous his or her decision to drive while under the influence would be.

The Abel Law Firm picks up along the line (above), saying that while all injuries and fatalities caused by automobile accidents are painful, those caused by drunk drivers are especially so because they are completely preventable. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, or you have lost a loved one because of a drunk driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation. It is understandable that money will not bring your loved one back to you, but it may be important in ensuring that the criminal who caused the accident will never make that mistake again.

 

 

 


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Employers are required to provide a safe and healthy environment for their employees. The United States Department of Labor oversees occupational safety standards and, at the most basic level, requires that employers “provide a workplace free from serious recognized hazards and comply with standards, rules and regulations issued under the OSH Act.” This act provides the standard minimum requirements that an employer must take to provide the proper work environment within his or her company. Employees must be kept physically safe while at work no matter what the work entails. There has also been an increased push in recent years to improve employees’ health beyond the basics of safety standards.

To avoid industrial accidents, employers must consider themselves safety leaders within the office. Employers can face grave consequences for treating their employees as equipment instead of people.  Every safety hazard exposes real people to serious harm and thus safety standards must be taken seriously. Common workplace safety hazards can stem from inherently dangerous work, such as working at a height, working with chemicals, or working with heavy equipment, such as forklifts. But even office spaces and other seemingly tame workplaces can allow for unsafe situations. Poor housekeeping, such as clutter around a fire exit, can cause serious harm during an emergency. These situations allow for workplace accidents to become all too common and further emphasize the need for office safety to be taken seriously. Not only does the law require employers to provide the proper environment to keep employees safe, but, according to the personal injury lawyers of Mazin & Associates law firm, if the misconduct results in an employee’s death, then legal action can be taken against the party who was responsible for the incident. This is one of the serious consequences of not providing a safe environment for employees.

Employers should also consider the benefits of providing a healthy environment for employees. There are many actions that an employer can take beyond the basic safety requirements to help provide a better environment for employees to work in. Health education classes provided by the company can help to improve employee lifestyle. Another way to improve employee health is by providing access to fitness facilities, either locally or on-site. Additionally, employers should consider making healthy food options available to employees on-site. All of these actions can significantly improve worker health and well-being.


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There are many different causes of injuries in the workplace, most of which result not only to physical pain suffered by injured workers, but also to financial sufferings, especially if these injuries are serious as this would mean costly medical treatment, the need to purchase the needed medication, and days or weeks off from work, which means no salary to expect.

Providing employees a financial safety net (though lower in amount compared to their regular pay) until they are able to return to work and earn their keep is the Workers’ Compensation, a state-administered insurance program. This Workers’ Comp is designed to provide benefits to workers whose injury, disability or illness is work-related. Though cash benefits is only about two/thirds of an injured worker’s average wage, (injured workers) greatly rely on it so as not to totally suffer disabling financial conditions.

Workers’ Comp pays benefits regardless of whose fault the accident is. However, there are limits as to the types of injuries that may be paid. As a rule, benefits will never be paid to workers:

  • Whose injury were self-inflicted;
  • Who were intoxicated at the time of the injury; or
  • Whose injury was a result of actions in violation of a law or company policy on work safety.

Because Workers’ Comp is financed by employers, it serves as some sort of an exchange or deal wherein injured employees, by choosing to receive its offered benefits (which usually include cost of medical treatment, lost wages, disability, rehabilitation and death), automatically waive their right to sue their employer for additional compensation.

Before applying for Workers’ Comp benefits, however, there are three very important legal aspects about this insurance benefits that injured workers need to understand:

First is the fact that they have the right to claim it (which means they cannot sue their employer);

Second, they can waive their right to receive Workers’ Comp benefits for the right to sue their employer to seek higher compensation. This legal pursuit is legally permissible, especially if this benefits program: is not actually offered by the employer; there is clear proof that the accident was intended by the employer; or the injury was very serious or leads to death. By suing their employer, injured workers may be able to receive damages that will also cover pain and suffering, mental anguish, and punitive damages in addition to all those that Workers’ Comp would have provided; and,

Third, aside from the right to sue their employer, injured workers can also pursue legal action against third parties, such as suppliers or manufacturers of the defective products or toxic substances that they used at work, or any other outside contractor who may have caused the injury. While suing an outside contractor does not require waiving their right to Workers’ Comp, paying a portion of the Workers’ Comp insurance benefit already received may be necessary. The employer and insurance provider may otherwise be allowed to join injured workers’ side in the lawsuit in order for them to recover the value of the benefits that they already paid.

According to one Georgetown personal injury attorney, though hard and loyal workers have every right to expect their employer to support them if they get hurt on the job, many employers and insurance companies attempt to sidestep their workers’ compensation responsibilities by arguing that the employee’s injury or disability was not work-related – this is a move by many employers so as to avoid increasing their premiums (employees making claims too often or employees making expensive claims due to severe injuries would mean higher premiums for employers).

Applying for Workers’ Comp benefits can be a complex process; more so if an injured worker decides to sue his/her employer instead. After being seriously injured, however, the last thing a worker needs to worry about is wading through the bureaucratic red tape and/or the complexities surrounding Workers’ Compensation claim. To save himself/herself from all these trouble, having a legal representative (a Workers’ Comp claims lawyer) may just be a necessity.


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