Stop Student Loan Collections

Most people know that student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. If you are facing collections, however, there are some things that you should be aware of. This is how Chapter 7 can help.

Student Loan Collection

Students loan collectors and creditors have incredible collection power. They don’t have to sue you first or get a court judgment against you like most creditors. These creditors and collectors have extremely aggressive collection methods at their disposal. These special creditors can garnish your bank accounts and take your paychecks. They may also be able to grab your tax refund, or a portion of your Social Security benefit check.

The “Automatic Stay” in a Chapter 7 Filing

There are many reasons student loans are unique. The “automatic stay” that you file in bankruptcy will immediately stop student loan collection. It doesn’t matter if the student loan is discharged (written off), in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.

“Any act to collect, assess or recover a debt against the debtor” is stopped by the “automatic stop”. (Section 362(a),(6) of the U.S. Bankruptcy Act. (A “claim” is a “right to payment”–essentially, a debt. Section 101(5). The “automatic stop” is a temporary halt to “the commencement of or continuation”. . ?. of a[n] . administrative. Administrative. Administrative. . Proceeding against the debtor (Section 362(a)(1). “Administrative proceedings” includes the non-judicial collection actions described above, but they don’t include a suit. A Chapter 7 filing will also stop “the setoff any debt” that you owe, such as a Social Security or tax refund setoff. Section 362(a),(7). Filing bankruptcy will stop all student loan collection actions.

The break in collections lasts for the three to four months most Chapter 7 consumer Chapter 7 cases take. However, if you don’t manage the student loan properly in the interim, its collection can continue.

Dischargeability of Student Loans

Some student loans are permanently written off when a bankruptcy is filed. A student loan that is dischargeable must satisfy one condition. This condition can be a difficult and confusing one. You must not be causing undue hardship to the student loan. (Section 523(a),(8).

What does “undue hardship?” mean? It must be more difficult than a “hardship”.

It is possible that you feel your student loans are causing financial hardship. Federal courts have narrowly interpreted this phrase. These details are beyond the scope and reach of this blog post. However, it is important to remember that this condition can be very difficult to meet.

Chapter 7 Break-In Collections

You want to make the temporary collection break permanent during the three to four months of your Chapter 7 case. These are three methods to achieve this.

  • Your bankruptcy lawyer will file an “adversary proceeding” in your Chapter 7 case if you believe that you are eligible for “undue hardship.” This is a specialized lawsuit that determines whether you are eligible for “undue hardship.” The bankruptcy judge would then discharge your student loan debt permanently. This would make the temporary suspension of collections permanent. Once you have paid off the debt legally, there would be no further collection.
  • A bankruptcy judge might only allow partial repayment of student loans. The judge may decide that you would have to repay all the student loan(s), but only a part of them would. You would then make arrangements to repay the student loan debt at a lower monthly payment. Your student loan creditor will stop pursuing any further collection actions against you as long as you make the monthly payments.
  • Even if you aren’t eligible for a discharge of “undue hardship”, your Chapter 7 case will still discharge most or all of your other debts. This should make it easier to repay your student loans. You should be able to make arrangements for payment. You may be able to do this through the payment-reduction program available for different student loans. Your Chapter 7 case would be closed if you have such a payment-reduction program. You will then be exempt from student loan collection at the expiration of the automatic stay.
Avoid Default And Preserve Options

Even if you are not eligible for “undue hardship”, the bankruptcy pause can still be very helpful. This could be crucial. This is because most student loan programs can only be applied for if you are not behind in your payments. These programs may be available to you if you file a Chapter 7 case before your payments have fallen behind. If you wait too long, you may lose your chance and become seriously handicapped.

This post was written by Trey Wright, one of the best bankruptcy Tallahassee attorneys! Trey is one of the founding partners of Bruner Wright, P.A. Attorneys at Law, which specializes in areas related to bankruptcy law, estate planning, and business litigation.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.  Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.  This website contains links to other third-party websites.  Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; the ABA and its members do not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.

Why You Should Still Make A Personal Injury Claim Against Friends or Family

You were so happy to be at your relative’s birthday party. The festival was memorable with singing, dancing, cake, fantastic food, and stories from those you love. No one expected things to be upset by what happened later in the evening. People were on their way out the door. You were also on your way out, and you turned to hug someone. A box of glass-filled beverages was in your way. No one thought about it because usually, this area of space is clear.

personal injury lawyers

You Unexpectedly Sustained Injuries

You took a tumble, and the way you feel, you hit your head, you twisted your ankle pretty badly, and you suffered a deep cut on your leg. An ambulance arrives to cart you off to the emergency room. Later, everyone checks on you to make sure you are well. A few weeks after, though, you’re having problems with your vision, difficulty with your range of motion from your legs, and more.

You know you’re not going to be able to keep paying unexpected and mounting medical bills. You also aren’t sure how many more bills there might be. You struggle with the idea of filing a personal injury claim to get these bills adequately paid. You aren’t sure of the status of the homeowner’s claim, how much your insurance will keep paying, and how much family division you’ll cause if you go through with a lawsuit.

These are all very typical questions and feelings. People who file the suit know that their friend or relative can’t afford their new medical bills, and, of course, they had no malice intended with their injuries. The truth is that many people who do decide to follow through with this find relief after doing so. They know a lawyer can deal with the insurance company because, let’s face it, the medical bills and time off of work need to be paid.

The Majority of Your Time Outside of Work is Spent with Friends and Loved Ones

Most accidents and personal injuries tend to happen when we are with friends or family members.

  • People might fall when running near the edges of the pool.
  • Ice hides under newly fallen snow on driveways and walkways, while large tenuous icicles sometimes form off the gutters waiting to fall on a loved one.
  • Generally, happy dogs may bite if the owner doesn’t know they are sick and exposed to an overstimulating environment (like a birthday party).
  • Workers you might have hired to do odd jobs around the house may become injured while navigating your property.

Sometimes, when someone suffers an injury, the hospital won’t accept the person’s own insurance, insisting there needs to be a claim number against the homeowner’s home insurance before treatment can be provided. These are just some examples of when you’d want to consider consulting with personal injury lawyers.

Why a Personal Injury Attorney Helps; It’s Not About Revenge

Deciding to pursue this type of legal action has nothing to do with revenge. In many cases, it doesn’t even change the relationship between you or your friend and relative. Your friend or relative wants you to recover well, and you know from the bottom of your heart that they had nothing to do with causing you harm. It was an accident. It’s just become a costly accident.

An excellent personal injury attorney knows exactly how to make the insurance company give your claim the proper attention it’s due. Each personal injury case has a set aside amount already determined by the insurance company that they will pay. However, many will attempt to whittle you down to bare-bones nothing or claim that the lower offers they try to get you to accept are “the best they can do.” Experienced personal injury lawyers and insurance companies know this. The lawyer keeps the insurance company in check, increases your chances of having a fair payout settled for you, and can help smooth painful and confusing feelings your friend or relative may be feeling.

Conclusion

Don’t despair if you’re thinking about making a personal injury claim against a friend or family. Sometimes it’s your only option. It’s not a personal thing against your friend or relative, and an excellent personal injury attorney knows how to be sensitive about these matters. It does not hurt to consult with a personal injury attorney for more information.

Qualities a Maritime Attorney Must Have

If you may have suffered any maritime injury while doing your job, you most probably need to be careful about hiring a good maritime attorney to help you figure out your case. The process of looking for a good maritime attorney must be cautious since it will help you make the right choice and get the best representation.

maritime attorney

Many companies offer maritime attorney services, but if you are looking for a maritime lawyer who can help you solve your issue, check out maritime attorney. You must consider the experience of an attorney before hiring one. Here are some qualities that a good maritime lawyer needs to have to represent you effectively and successfully:

Essential Financial Resources

Your maritime incident claim can be quite expensive to present to a jury or judge effectively. Normally, your incident will include loss of future wages, fringe benefits, and also past wages. A financial professional is required to testify about your issue at trial. A liability professional may be necessary in your case to prove that the company made a mistake that caused your incident.

All the professionals you will need must be paid before representing you; therefore, your attorney is responsible for funding and hiring such professionals until your claim is settled. For each dollar spent on defending your case, your attorney needs to be ready to finance your case.

Ready to Fully Plan Your Case

Among the essential requirements that your maritime lawyer needs include fully planning your case. More often, successful attorneys can have adequate financial resources and the best experience of solving maritime cases. Nevertheless, most attorneys might accept many cases but will only pursue a few cases.

An attorney may accept your case, but after sampling it and seeing your case isn’t significant, they might limit the work they put in your case. A good attorney needs to be prepared to plan your claim for trial. As you hire an attorney, ensure you ask if he is willing and ready to prepare your case to obtain a better trial result.

Respected by Other Attorneys

One of the basic things you need to consider is if other attorneys should refer certain maritime claims to the attorney you want to choose. If you see a company referred to by other firms many times, that means you can trust any attorney from that company. A trusted attorney is familiar with maritime law very well, and if they take your case, they will solve it successfully.

It is important to consider the client information, though what other attorneys or firms say about an attorney is more necessary. You can ask an attorney whether he has been referred, although sometimes that attorney may refer you to another attorney who can solve your case.

Important Office Resources

A good team of maritime lawyers must have the necessary skills, financial resources, and office resources. Suppose you want your maritime claim to be proved successfully. In that case, there must be adequate resources since many hours of work will be utilized in getting significant documents and getting the testimony that will prove your claim in a trial.

The work may also include:

  • Getting all the necessary work and medical records.
  • Paying and arranging for treatment to correct your injury.
  • Hiring and working together with various professionals.
  • Taking statements from important witnesses.
  • Arranging all the documents for easy presentation to the court.

Your attorney needs an office staff that knows how to prepare a case effectively.

If the attorney qualifies for all these or most of these qualities and others, like courtroom experiences, you can hire them for your case. Ensure your attorney has enough experience and is willing to prepare your case.

Hit and Run Penalties: What You Need to Know

If you’ve been involved in an accident, it’s sometimes useful to discuss the matter with the other parties involved, but it’s imperative to wait to meet with the authorities. While discussing what happened with the police may not be your happiest time, it’s necessary to stay within the boundaries of the law.

However, if you’ve been involved in an accident and then drove off without stopping, it is a major issue. You could have done so because you thought it was too minor an accident to stop, or because you believe that you were over the legal limit at the time. Nevertheless, the infraction is significant, so don’t discount it.

Implications of Leaving the Scene

If you’ve gotten into a fender bender and left the scene, that’s problematic. It’s even worse if the accident caused someone else involved to become injured. That’s then a more serious matter.

Leaving a scene of an accident in Michigan relates to the Michigan Vehicle Code and namely Section 257.617a. Someone who causes bodily injury and leaves an accident scene could be liable to penalties, criminal action including possibly a misdemeanor charge, a suspended driver’s license, as much as $1,000 in fines, and a 12-month prison term.

What About a Hit and Run Incident?

While leaving the scene of an accident by stopping briefly and driving off could be put down to not realizing the accident was more significant or that anyone was hurt, that’s far less likely in a genuine hit and run incident.

A hit and run can be accidental because of being impaired due to being under the influence, or as an intentional action against another person to do them harm. Therefore, even if you did it because you panicked and drove away, it could be seen in an extremely negative light.

The Michigan Vehicle Code covers the possibility of a hit and run incident or accident in Sections 257.617 and 257.618. The law separates vehicle or property damage from injuries to people. The former also carry potential fines, a suspended license, and up to 90 days in prison.

Worse still, severe personal injury to another person or death has the potential for five-figure fines if at fault, a felony prosecution, and potentially over a decade in prison.

What Should You Do If You’ve Been Involved in a Hit and Run?

You should hire an attorney who is familiar with Michigan hit and run penalties.

They can advise you what to do, which will likely include voluntarily handing yourself in to the authorities.

Beginning to take responsibility for what has happened – leaving the scene or for the hit and run – is the right next move. While that doesn’t mean that the accident itself was your fault, leaving the scene is likely to be thoroughly investigated at the very least. It is best to face up to the consequences of your actions even if they are acknowledged later as mistaken. Courts can be understanding of mistakes, especially when it’s a first-time offense. So, don’t lose hope. Get a legal team on your side to try to obtain the best possible outcome now. Being arrested on the streets as a wanted person following a hit-and-run incident will only worsen the situation. Act before that happens.

Privacy Laws and Exceptions: Important HHS Concepts that Directly Apply to Covered Entities and Associates

The patient data of every US citizen is protected and secured under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All HHS laws governing the creation and maintenance of the privacy and security protocols are automatically applicable on all relevant parties, irrespective of the state.

Privacy Policy, It, Computer, Security, Password

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In addition to privacy and security, the laws also ensure that relevant patient parties are duly notified in case of healthcare breaches. Now, let’s take a look at some of the most important concepts which all covered entities and their business associates should be familiar with.

Protected Health Information (PHI)

The Privacy Rule, as defined by the HHS, classifies all identifiable and relatable patient data as Protected Health Information (PHI). Therefore, any entity with direct or indirect access to individually relatable patient data must handle it via HIPAA compliant policies. Failure to do so can lead to civil or even criminal penalizations on the violating individual or institution. Examples of PHI include, but are not limited to information regarding a patient’s previous, concurrent or predicted:

  • Physical/mental condition
  • Medical provisions, diagnostics, meds, prescriptions, treatment procedures, etc.
  • Mode or sum of payment(s) made to avail the medical provisions

Unprotected Health Information (DHI)

All De-Identified Health Information is free from the HIPAA privacy rules, as they cannot be traced back to the source/patient. DHI is created by removing specific identifying elements which can in any way be traced back to the original patient party. The term patient party here includes not just the patient, but also their family members, relatives and employers. However, the de-identified info must also be verified and confirmed by a statistician with the necessary qualifications.

The Security Rule

The security rule is by far the simplest to decipher, as it is based more on common sense. However, it is also the hardest to implement, since it requires all covered entities and their business associates to:

  • Maintain secrecy, integrity, and accessibility of the PHI records transmitted by them, or placed under their care
  • Take reasonable protective measures against common and anticipated threats (data loss, manipulation, theft, etc.) to the medical data they are responsible for
  • Take adequate measures against uses and disclosures that violate PHI Security Standards
  • Take measures to train and monitor employees, so that violations are not committed wilfully or ignorantly

Required Disclosures

Only two parties hold the right to make PHI disclosure mandatory, and they are:

  1. The patient, or their official guardian/legal representative(s) can request PHI disclosure as their right.
  2. The HHS can ask for any specific PHI, if they are investigating a noncompliance complaint.

Incidental Uses and Disclosures

Incidental Use and Disclosure is a complicated concept to define, so we will break it down into a few crucial points. A covered entity or their business associate is allowed to use and/or disclose protected health information under the Incidental Uses and Disclosures law, if:

  • It is an unavoidable secondary effect following a required and permitted use or disclosure of PHI
  • The level of use and disclosure is kept to a minimum
  • Proper safeguards were taken to prevent incidental disclosures

Breach Notification Requirements

On failing to secure and protect patient data from healthcare breaches, the covered entity must provide due notifications regarding the same to:

  • Any affected patient parties and other associated individuals
  • The Secretary of HHS
  • The mass media, under specific circumstances concerning massive PHI breaches

In case the breach occurs at one of the business associate’s ends, they have the responsibility and legal obligation to inform the covered entity they were working with. The repercussions can be quite severe, but they can be mitigated with a breach management plan.