A Credit Counselor Versus a Bankruptcy Attorney

Three Ways Your Smart Phone Can Help You After A Fender Bender

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Getting into a fender bender can mean higher insurance rates, but there is a tool available that can help you with this problem. Your smartphone can be your best friend after a small accident. Granted, if the accident is serious enough, there will likely be a police report and even paramedics called to the accident due to injuries, but if the accident is not serious enough for an emergency call, then using your smartphone can help you with an insurance claim. The following are three reasons how it can help you. To get a visual record of the damage It is possible that damage to the other vehicle can be worse after the accident. The driver of the other car can get into a second accident, or intentionally cause more damage to the car. Either way, using your smartphone at the scene of the accident can get good photos or a video recording of the condition of all cars involved. Make sure you get all sides of a car, not just the area with damage. You should also get images of any property that was damaged other than the cars. To document injuries Although it is possible for someone to appear physically fine after an accident and later to be diagnosed with an injury, most medical problems manifest themselves right after the accident. The extent of the injury may not be known at the time, but it will be apparent that a person has been hurt. However, it is common for people to claim to have been injured in a car accident, long after the accident has occurred. Having a video recording of a person’s movement after the car crash can help your personal injury attorney. To get information about the driver A driver may tell you they accidentally left their wallet at home, so he gives you an address and phone number verbally. Or maybe he doesn’t have proof of insurance, because he just got a new policy and hasn’t put the insurance card in the vehicle yet. This type of story may be true, but it may be a lie to get out of paying for a fender bender. Your smartphone can take a picture of the car’s license plate, and this can be turned over to your insurance company if the driver cannot be contacted. Remember, if the accident is serious enough that people have obviously been hurt, call for medical help immediately. Likewise, if the accident causes enough damage that one or more cars cannot be removed from the road, the police need to be called. But for smaller accidents, remain calm, and grab your smartphone to begin documenting the...

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Avoid Being Scammed With The Investment Of A Dash Cam

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Most people have watched television programs that show police officers making traffic stops recorded by the police car’s dash cam. The footage recorded by a dash cam can become a valuable piece of evidence should the traffic stop turn into a criminal situation. Anyone that has ever been involved in a car accident with someone that is an accident scammer would tell you they would have appreciated having footage of what happened when they went to court. Learn more about the benefits of having a dashboard video recorder in your vehicle. Video Footage Can Help Solve Disputes About Accident Events When in court, the person that hit you may say statements that are not true. This type of scamming can be particularly damaging to your case if there are no witnesses to back you up about your claim to what happened. Bear in mind that many car accident scammers are pros and often have other people working with them to serve as witnesses for their claim. Cam Footage Does Not Suffer Brain Injuries In the event you are in an accident and suffer head trauma, you may not be able to remember exactly what happened. If you have a dash cam, the footage recorded can be your voice, an especially important tool if you are not at fault for the accident. While some insurance companies have yet to accept video footage as evidence, most legal professionals do and can use it to your advantage when it comes to dealing with stubborn insurance companies. To get the most from your dashboard footage, especially if you have suffered serious injuries like head or brain trauma, hiring a lawyer to handle the case for you is the best way to go. Vital Information In A Hit And Run Accident If you are in a car accident and the other driver runs, your dash cam may capture information like a tag number in addition to the make and model of the car. If you are parked and out of your vehicle, having a cam recording can be helpful if someone hits your car and leaves the scene because you are not there to stop them. The benefits of installing a dash cam in your vehicle are great, especially when it comes to being hit on purpose by a scam artist. If you have been in a car accident and you have a dash cam, discuss with your lawyer about using the recorded footage as evidence in your case. To learn more, contact a law firm like Rolsch Law...

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Getting Debts Under Control: How A Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Assist You

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Are you trying to figure out how to go about paying off the debts that are owed to creditors? You might find it helpful to speak to a bankruptcy lawyer about your financial situation in case filing for bankruptcy is the best way to handle your past due debts. Below, discover what kind of bankruptcy options a lawyer might discuss with you based on the amount of debts that you owe to creditors. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy for Debt Forgiveness A lawyer can help you get debt forgiveness for the debts that you owe if you are qualified for it. The way to qualify is by passing a means test and getting bankruptcy approved by a judge. Basically, a lawyer will conduct a means test by calculating your monthly income to determine if it is below the median income level (which varies depending on your state). If your income surpasses the median income level, the lawyer will need to know how much of the money is spent on debts, as being left with a small amount of extra money each month may still qualify you for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be suggested by your lawyer if it is possible for you to pay off your debts. Paying Back Debts Via Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Chapter 13 bankruptcy might be the best way to settle your debts if you have a decent income and don’t owe a large amount of creditors money. If approved for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will have up to five years to pay your creditors back what they are owed. You will have to draft up a repayment plan, and it is likely to get approved by the judge if you allow a lawyer to help. He or she will base the repayment plan on your monthly income, residence and debts that are owed. Your living expenses will also be taken into consideration when the repayment plan is created. Hiring a Bankruptcy Lawyer for Assistance When you hire a bankruptcy lawyer to assist with your debt situation, you will have to first have a consultation (which might not cost anything). Expect to pay a set fee that varies between lawyers if you are charged for the consultation. If you opt for filing bankruptcy, the fee might be a flat rate if your situation is not complex, but an hourly rate of at least $100 or more per hour might be charged for a complex case. Get in touch with a bankruptcy lawyer as soon as you can to improve your debt situation! Click here for more info on bankruptcy...

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What Should You Do If A Home Sale Is Delaying Probate?

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If your last surviving parent has recently passed away, you and your siblings may be in the midst of the probate process — gathering assets and debts and using your parent’s will (or the intestate distribution laws of your state) to divide property among all eligible heirs. However, if your parent’s home is in an area with a soft housing market, or if one of your siblings is dragging his or her feet on approving a listing price, you may fear that you’ll never get this home sold and be able to collect your inheritance. Read on to learn more about the steps you can take when it seems the sale of your parent’s home will keep probate pending indefinitely. What happens when probate is closed? During the probate process, the decedent’s assets are liquidated and used to pay off debts of the estate (like funeral costs, property taxes, or certain types of loans). Any funds remaining will be divided among named heirs under the terms set forth by the decedent’s will. Some physical assets (like jewelry, family heirlooms, and even real estate in some situations) may be divided among heirs without having to be liquidated first. In order to close probate and make a final distribution to all heirs, all estate property must be accounted for and in a form that can be divided among heirs. This can mean getting appraisals of non-cash or securities items to ensure their accurate value is being used in calculations and selling any items or property that will need to be liquidated — including a home. Unless the decedent’s home was held in a trust that allowed it to pass outside of probate or was directly willed to a specific heir, it’s likely the home will need to be sold before probate can be closed and checks can be issued to those who inherit. What should you do if the closing of probate is being delayed due to a home sale? There are a few steps you and your siblings may be able to agree to take if you’re anxious to get your parent’s home sold and probate closed. The first is to calculate the probable sales price and determine whether one heir may simply “buy out” the others by taking the home as an inheritance. For example, if you and three siblings each get 25 percent of your parent’s estate, with cash balances valued at $300,000 and a home valued at $100,000, one sibling may be able to accept this home as their inheritance and allow the remaining siblings to equally split the $300,000. This can be a particularly good option if one sibling has an emotional attachment to the home or is dragging his or her feet when it comes to selling the home. If your parent’s estate isn’t insolvent, you and your siblings may also be able to agree to accept a lower-than-market price for your parent’s home simply to get it off the market. Doing this can help speed up the process even in a down market, and the convenience of having a probate check issued quickly can make up for any potentially higher price this home may have fetched in the future. For more information, contact a probate attorney like David R Webb...

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Proving You Deserve Workers’ Compensation Benefits

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If you were hurt while working, you may have filed for workers’ compensation benefits to get reimbursed for medical expenses and loss of wages. Many people will find that their first attempt at filing for benefits will be denied. If you have obtained letter verification that you are not being awarded benefits, you can make an appeal to have the decision overturned. Here are some tips to use when proving to a court that you are deserving of workers’ compensation benefits in an attempt to have a successful appeal. File Paperwork Promptly When you receive a letter denying you workers’ compensation benefits, you will need to act fast in filing appeal paperwork. There is a statue of limitation in filing, making it important to be aware of this date so you do not miss an opportunity to have the ruling overturned. Each state has different stipulations regarding the amount of time you have to make an appeal. The appeal information will be listed on your letter of rejection or you can contact your state’s workers’ compensation officials for the information needed to file the appropriate paperwork. Retain An Attorney When appealing a rejected workers’ compensation claim, most people will retain a lawyer to speak in their behalf in court. This is best as they may be able to find a reason why you should be awarded benefits that you did not think about on your own. They will know about past cases and use them to your advantage when speaking about your specific situation. To learn more about hiring an attorney, contact a law firm like Hardee and Hardee LLP.  See Your Doctor Regularly It is extremely important to follow all your doctor’s order when waiting to receive workers’ compensation benefits. If you fail to heed medical advice, it will look unfavorable on your part, possibly causing the workers’ compensation board to keep your claim in a denied state. Fill prescriptions and go to follow-up appointments to make sure you are not well enough to return to work. Have your doctor give you documentation about your medical status each time you go for an appointment. This information will be analyzed in detail by the workers’ compensation board and the judge you will see in court. Get Help From Fellow Employees If your former employer is falsifying information about your injury claim, it can stop you from retaining benefits. If you have friends who had worked with you at the time of your injury who still work for the company, ask them to help you get information to prove you had become injured due to company negligence. This can be done anonymously by taking pictures of the area where you had gotten injured, proving the area is still a...

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The Accident Report And Workers’ Compensation

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If you have been injured in a work-related accident, you should know that your employer very likely has workers’ compensation insurance to cover your medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages. Your ability to collect these benefits, however, relies on the timeliness and completeness of the accident report. Once you have reported the accident to your supervisor, your next step should be to ensure that your supervisor fills out the accident report as soon as possible. Your workers’ comp claim cannot move forward without an accident report, so read on for more information about how the report could affect your claim. The Accident Report Though it varies by state, most accident forms contain areas that must be filled out by both you and your supervisor. In some states you can fill the report out yourself by obtaining it from your state board of workers’ compensation online, and provide it to your supervisor to complete and submit. Take care in filling out this form and be sure to include the contact information of any witnesses. Your claim will be submitted to your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. If approved, you could be eligible to receive the following benefits: A portion of your wages, paid weekly while you recover from your injury (70% is common, but varies by state). All medical expenses. Vocational rehabilitation to retrain you if you are unable to return to your previous position due to your injuries. Lump sum or weekly payments for your lifetime if your condition is deemed to be a permanent injury. Stay Organized Keep your documents together in one place; an expandable file case works well and allows you more organization than a file folder. In it keep your copy of the accident report, your notes or narrative about the accident, medical receipts, treatments records, lab tests, etc. Pain and Suffering Before you agree to accept a workers’ compensation settlement, you should understand that by doing so you are giving up your right to bring a personal injury suit upon your employer. You may have noticed a glaring omission under the benefits listed above; workers’ compensation contains no provision for pain and suffering. To receive pain and suffering benefits, your only recourse is to file a lawsuit. Consult with an attorney before you accept the settlement; you want to ensure that you are receiving the full amount of compensation that you are entitled to. If you feel that your employer is not doing enough to compensate you for your injuries, waste no time in contacting a workers’ comp or personal injury attorney, such as Prediletto, Halpin, Scharnikow & Nelson,...

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Contested Custody And Child Custody Evaluations: What You Need To Know

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For divorcing parents with minor children, the best case scenario would be two parents who are able to agree on issues like custody, visitation and child support. Unfortunately, all too often these contentious issues cannot be worked out by the parents, and a family court judge must make the custody decisions. Judges are increasingly relying on child custody evaluations that are performed by a specific type of mental health expert to help them make these important rulings. If you are facing an upcoming child custody evaluation, read on for what you need to know. Who Does The Evaluation? Normally, the evaluations are completed by mental health professionals, such as psychologists, social workers or mental health counselors. Some states use the term “guardian ad litem” to describe these evaluators. Regardless of their title, these mental health professionals usually have advanced training for the task of interviewing children and parents and rendering a decision for the judge. Though it varies by state, the judge will often assign an evaluator to the case or provide you and your spouse a list from which to choose. An important point to note here is that the parents are responsible for paying for the services of this evaluator and the fees can run from $2,000 to $6,000, depending on your location. Knowing that, the considerable cost involved may motivate you and your spouse to reconsider working out your custody arrangements yourself. What Happens At An Evaluation? Usually, the evaluation process involves several interview sessions with your child, you, your spouse, and an observation session to see how you and your spouse interact with your child. The evaluator often will interview your child’s school personnel, such as the teachers and councilors; your pediatrician; other mental health professionals; and relatives who interact frequently with your child. The evaluator may conduct psychological testing on you, your spouse and your child. Psychological testing is a mental health specialty area, so sometimes an additional evaluation team member must be added for this task. What Should You Do? 1.  Being evaluated on your parenting skills can be an extremely stressful and intimidating process. You may know you are a good parent, but proving it to a virtual stranger can be difficult and scary. Try to keep a calm demeanor and take good care of your self during this process. 2.  Stay in close contact with your divorce attorney during the evaluation process and contact them immediately if you notice anything amiss, such as the evaluator showing obvious bias towards your spouse. Your attorney may be able to request that another evaluator complete the evaluation, but don’t wait until the evaluator has already sent the report to the judge to take action. Your attorney can be a wealth of advice about how to get through custody evaluations and prove that you are a fit and competent parent for custody...

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Legal Steps You Can Take If You Will Be Raising Your Grandchild

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If your son or daughter agrees to let you raise his or her child for a period of time, it will be important for you to have the right legal authority over the child. Getting the right legal work completed will be a necessity for you if you plan on raising your grandchild for a while, and a family attorney can help you complete the necessary tasks. While there are several ways to handle this, here are two options you might want to discuss with your attorney. Power of attorney If you and your child are not ready to transfer legal custody rights of the child to you, there is another option. This option is through a power of attorney. Getting a power of attorney would allow you to make medical decisions, financial decisions, and other decisions for the child without the parent of the child consenting to it. Power of attorney basically gives you all the rights you need for temporary guardianship of a minor. This can be helpful for a child of any age, and it does not relinquish the rights of the child’s parent. The child’s parent can still be involved; however, you will also have the rights to make all decisions relating to the child. Your son or daughter will also be able to revoke this agreement at any time if he or she chooses. Legal custody There are times when getting a power of attorney is not enough, but this is typically when the parent of the child is unfit to be raising the child on his or her own. In situations like this, you could try to gain legal custody of your grandchild. If your child will not agree to give you legal custody of his or her child, you will have to fight for it. On the other hand, if your child agrees to this, you can have a family lawyer draw up the paperwork for both of you to sign. Legal custody would give you all rights for the child, but it typically eliminates the rights the parent of the child has. This is why some parents will not agree to switch legal custody of their kids. If you plan on raising and caring for your grandchild on a full-time basis, you should take the necessary legal steps for this. You can learn more about power of attorney and legal custody by visiting a family lawyer in your...

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4 Reasons a Woman Should Leave an Abusive Partner

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If you are a woman seeking a divorce due to domestic violence within your home, you are not alone. Domestic violence is an ongoing problem in the United States. According to national statistics, a woman is beaten or assaulted every nine seconds. In addition, one out of every three women have been a victim of physical violence from an intimate partner at some point. On an average day, over 20,000 phone calls are received by domestic violence hotlines in the United States. Still, you don’t have to remain a negative statistic. Here are a few reasons to remove yourself from a relationship in which you are a victim of abuse: Your children may be witnessing the abuse. One out of 15 children are exposed to an act of violence from one intimate partner against the other each year. Of those children, 90 percent witness the violence first hand. The long-term effects of witnessing violent acts can include emotional unrest, insecurity, and tendency toward violence. As a parent, your child’s well-being should be paramount. You should remove your child and yourself from any situation that threatens your safety. You could be killed. Of all murder-suicides that involve an intimate partner, 94 percent of the victims are female. In addition, if a gun is present during a bout of domestic violence, the risk of a homicide occurring increases by 500 percent. Your finances may suffer. If you have a job, you may have to take time away from work because of the domestic violence, and your finances may suffer. Every year, cumulatively, victims of domestic violence lose eight million days of paid work. In addition, up to 60 percent of victims lose their jobs because of issues associated with the abuse.  Once you leave an abusive partner, you may be ultimately responsible for your own financial support. It is important to dissolve an abusive relationship before it affects your ability to earn a living for you and your children. Your mental health could be sacrificed. Victims of domestic violence suffer from depression and suicidal behavior at a higher rate than nonvictims. The repeated pressure of abuse can affect your mental health. Some abusers try to convince their victims that the violence is the victim’s fault. This skewed mindset is unhealthy. If you are the victim of domestic violence from an abusive spouse, you may be seeking a divorce. A family law attorney can help guide you through the legal process. Schedule an appointment with a lawyer, like one from LaCroix & Hand PC, for a...

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Why You Need An Estate Plan To Prepare For The Future

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Are you prepared for your personal needs to be cared for in case you fall ill when you least expect it? Being that life is so unpredictable, you should think about getting an estate plan drafted up so you can have security if you happen to become incompetent. Find out in this article why having an estate plan is the smart thing to do, as well as what an attorney will charge to help you out. What Makes an Estate Plan a Worthy Investment? There is nothing worse than falling into the wrong hands if you are unable to do things for yourself. An estate plan is the perfect way to plan while you are still in good health as to who will take care of you during illness. You can actually appoint a single person, or multiple people can be appointed over your estate. The best thing about getting an estate plan is that it is a legal procedure that will be held in court no matter who tries to contest it. However, if your appointees happen to neglect you, the plan can be changed with the approval of a judge. One aspect of your estate plan should cover who will legally be in charge of your finances. A lawyer will create a document that appoints someone over your bank account, such as for withdrawing money for bills and your personal needs. The appointee can also make sure your house is taken care of and repairs are made if they arise. It is a good idea to choose a finance appointee who has good accounting skills, as you don’t want your money to run out from poor management. Another aspect of the estate plan will appoint someone over your medical needs. He or she will be in charge in choosing your physician if you are unable to. The medical appointee will also have the authority to make decisions about the drugs you are prescribed and any surgeries that you may need. What Does an Attorney Charge to Create an Estate Plan? You are looking to spend a minimum of at least $800+ for an attorney to assist with your estate plan. He or she will take a look at your needs and help you create the best plan possible. Keep in mind that a complex case can cost as much as over $3,500. Don’t delay speaking to an attorney about an estate plan so you can prepare for the future! Visit http://www.scottandscottlaw.com for more...

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