Do I Pay A Deductible If I'm Not At Fault

If you are a passenger in a car accident, you sue the at-fault party or at-fault parties. This will require review of the police report, which a personal injury attorney can assist you with. You may have be able to sue both the driver of your vehicle and the other driver, depending upon the facts of the car accident, as well as how much insurance each party has.

If you’re a passenger in a car accident, and if you suffer injuries, you most likely have a right to a personal injury passenger claim. Your personal injury lawyer will work to establish liability with an insurance carrier for either your driver or another driver. Once liability is established, your personal injury lawyer will negotiate the claim based upon your injuries, medical treatment and billing, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our firm routinely files personal injury passenger claims and we hope this article is helpful.

Am I Responsible As A Passenger?

Generally, unless they contributed in some way to the accident, passengers are not responsible for the accident. An exception would be where the passenger contributed to the accident in some manner. North Carolina has a rule of law known as Contributory Negligence. Under Contributory Negligence, if you were deemed to contribute to the accident by as little as 1%, a jury would be instructed to award you nothing for your personal injury passenger claim.

Below, are some examples of Contributory Negligence of passengers in a personal injury passenger claim:

  • Voluntarily riding with a driver you know or should know is impaired. An example would be getting into a vehicle with a friend whom you had been drinking alcohol with at a bar.
  • Awareness that your driver is violating the law or has a history of doing so. An example would be that you are aware your driver has been cited for reckless driving numerous times, and you choose to ride in their vehicle. However, you will not be made responsible to warn an otherwise reasonable driver who is driving above the speed limit.
  • Continuing as a passenger in a vehicle with a reckless driver after being given a chance to exit the vehicle. An example would be a driver is driving recklessly and at an excessive speed. The driver stops for gas. At that time you have an opportunity to exit the vehicle. If you remain a passenger in the vehicle and the driver later injures you, Contributory Negligence may bar your recovery. Bell v. Maxwell, 246 NC 257, SE 2nd 33 (1957).

Which Driver Is Responsible For A Passenger’s Injuries?

Whichever driver is the at-fault driver will be held responsible for the injuries to a passenger in a car accident. Additionally, if you exhaust the at-fault driver’s insurance policy proceeds, you may recover under your own auto insurance policy. Your under-insured motorist coverage will serve as a potential source of additional funds in this scenario.

Personal Injury Passenger Claims In Multiple Car Accidents

If you are a passenger in a multiple car accident or a “pile up” accident, you may recover from multiple drivers. For example, suppose your vehicle rear-ends the vehicle in front of you. Then, the vehicle behind you rear-ends the vehicle in which you are traveling. Most likely, your injuries from the accident will be a result of both the first and the second collision. Your personal injury lawyer will negotiate with the insurance companies for both your driver and the driver who hit you. Your driver is responsible for a failure to maintain a safe stopping distance from the vehicle ahead. The driver behind you is responsible for the same, as in most rear-end auto accidents. Typically, the two insurance companies will agree upon a percentage of your injuries for which that each insurance company is responsible. Your personal injury lawyer will negotiate a settlement with each insurance company, or file suit in the alternative.

Speak With A Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have a personal injury passenger claim, speak with a Charlotte personal injury lawyer today. You can call us at 704.749.7747 or click HERE to request a call. You will speak directly with a personal injury lawyer. Part of our job is helping you understand your rights. We know you have choices, and we hope you choose to Recover With Us. Want to see what our clients have to say? Click HERE.

 

Charlotte personal injury attorney reviews

Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Reviews

In our opinion, Charlotte personal injury attorney reviews will tell you more about working with a specific law firm or attorney than anything else. If you’ve been in a car accident, have a work-related injury, or suffered a slip and fall, choosing a personal injury attorney is important, and can dramatically affect the outcome of your case. Typically, a Charlotte personal injury attorney review is written by a client who has worked from start to finish with a Charlotte personal injury law firm. The review is representative of the client’s actual experience with the firm, and when combined with other reviews, gives you priceless insight in deciding which Charlotte personal injury attorney to hire.

What A Law Firm Claims vs. How A Law Firm Actually Behaves

There are countless law firms with websites and commercials, all claiming they are the right choice for you. You’ve been injured, your case is worth money, and law firms wants to represent you. The distinguishing factor between a website or commercial, and Charlotte personal injury attorney reviews, is that the reviews reflect the actual experience. The commercial or website is simply the upfront promise. It’s relatively easy to put together a glossy website or expensive commercial, and use it to bring in business. Without a doubt, it creates an impression upon the customer who is trying to decide whether to hire that particular Charlotte personal injury attorney.

Reviews, on the other hand, can give you an inside look at what it will actually be like to work with the law firm. The rest of this article will focus on what we believe to be the value of Charlotte personal injury attorney reviews, and how you can use them to make your decision.

One Bad Review Is Not The End Of The World

Let’s start off with the idea that if you do business long enough, you’re going to have an unhappy customer. Perhaps its that the result achieved was less than what the client thought or expected. Sometimes, the result is fine, but the client felt like the law firm or lawyer didn’t care for them—phone calls weren’t returned, the client did  not feel like they were being updated regularly, etc.

In our opinion, whether it’s a law firm or a restaurant, a bad review can actually taken as a sign that all the reviews collectively, are an honest assessment of client’s experience with the law firm. In other words, if every review was absolutely perfect, you may have a reason to be a little bit skeptical about the reviews. On the other hand, if 9 out of 10 of the Charlotte personal injury attorney reviews are horrible, that should also tell you something about the firm.

Thoughtful Clients Write Reviews

It takes a lot of effort and desire to write a review of a business. That typically means that the person writing the review feels very strongly about the review they are leaving. Nobody is forced to leave a review—in fact lawyers are not allowed to provide incentives for reviews for ethical reasons. So, when someone chooses to write a review, it’s usually because they had a strong reaction to their experience with the lawyer or law firm. Essentially, most people don’t expect to get anything out of writing a review. So, it’s safe to assume they are trying to alert others who are deciding about the lawyer or law firm, to either hire them or find another person to represent them for their personal injury matter.

Does The Number Of Reviews Matter?

We think so, to some degree. If a large law firm helping thousands of clients a year in the Charlotte, NC area only has 12 reviews, that could be a bad sign. We want clients to have a very strong and positive reaction to working with us. Our goal is that the client is so excited about the result, and so excited about their choice to work with our firm, that they decide to write a review to express their excitement. If only one out of every few hundred people is doing that, perhaps the general experience with the firm is a mediocre one. While Google doesn’t show all reviews, the number of reviews and stars next to the lawyer or law firm’s name is something to consider. A single five star review is probably not enough information to base your decision upon. Twenty or more five star reviews seems sufficient to allow you to consider the reviews in your decision-making process.

What Are The Reviews Really Saying?

If you read between the lines in any client Google review, you can usually interpret the client’s experience. Our experience as a personal injury law firm is that people leave a review when they are happy with BOTH the result we achieved for them, and the way we went about achieving it. That is to say, the experience matters. You generally work with your Charlotte personal injury attorney for many months in order to try to resolve your personal injury claim. Many claims are extremely emotional. A client who leaves a great review for a Charlotte personal injury law firm is usually trying to say “This law firm cares.” We think it’s the greatest compliment a law firm can receive.

Speak With A Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Please read our online reviews. We are proud of the number of clients who have taken it upon themselves to tell the ‘world’ about our firm and how much they liked working with us. Every time we see a new review, it gives us the continued confidence that we are doing good work. If we see a bad review, we try to learn from it and of course reach out to the client to see how we can do better.

If you’ve read our reviews and would like to speak with us about a personal injury matter, we’re here to help. You can call 704.749.7747 or click for a FREE CASE EVALUATION. When it comes to hiring a Charlotte personal injury law firm, we know you have choices. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.

Negotiating Personal Injury Liens

Charlotte personal injury lawyers spend more time negotiating personal injury liens than perhaps doing any other work related to the claim. The reason for this is that every dollar negotiated on behalf of the client puts more money in the client’s pocket. And that’s the goal.

Working With A Personal Injury Lawyer

Some clients try to settle their claim without a personal injury lawyer. While this can go smoothly in the most basic of personal injury claims, it can also end in a nightmare. The common misconception is that if you are able to get the same settlement offer a personal injury attorney would procure, then you don’t need to work with a personal injury lawyer. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and negotiating personal injury liens is just the start of it.

Medicare Liens

If you are a Medicare recipient, Medicare will most definitely have a lien against your personal injury proceeds. There is a formula which your personal injury attorney will make sure Medicare applies when determining what your personal injury lien is. Your attorney can also petition Medicare for a further reduction by claiming hardship due to disability or other condition which makes it unfair for you to have to repay the amount Medicare is entitled to. This is a tedious process, but the results can make all the difference in your personal injury settlement.

Medicaid Liens

Medicaid liens are similar to Medicare liens; however, a Medicaid lien is not limited to the same portion of your personal injury settlement that Medicare is limited to. As a result, it’s important to know what your Medicaid pro rata lien amount will be prior to agreeing to a settlement. This way, you know what you’re getting before you enter into a binding contract with the insurance company to settle the claim.

ERISA Health Insurance Liens

It comes as a surprise to personal injury clients that some healthcare plans are entitled to a reimbursement for amounts paid toward personal injury medical care. Most of us believe that the arrangement we have with our healthcare plans is that we pay the monthly premiums, and when we are hurt or need medical attention, the healthcare insurance company pays the bills—or most of the bills. There is an exception when it comes to treatment related to personal injury. This federally enforced contractual agreement is contained in your healthcare plan documents.

Your personal injury attorney will make a request of your healthcare insurance provider as to whether they have or claim an ERISA health insurance lien against settlement proceeds. If they do claim a lien, your attorney will make sure they are the type of health insurance plan that is entitled to claim such a lien. This requires determining, among other things, whether the plan is an ERISA plan and whether it is a self-funded plan.

Medical Provider Liens

Even medical providers—facilities and doctors—can claim a lien against your personal injury proceeds. They have to follow specific guidelines for doing so, but most providers are well-versed in the rules for establishing their lien against your personal injury settlement and you can count on them to follow the rules.

Negotiating Personal Injury Liens

The bottom line is that quite often the settlement offer being made from the at-fault party is not enough to either pay off all the claimed liens, or in the alternative, it’s not enough to pay you enough money after all lien holders have been paid. This is why negotiating your personal injury liens prior to reaching a settlement is key. This is when you have the most leverage. Once you agree to a settlement, the lien holders are entitled to their share of the personal injury settlement. Prior to settling, you have some leverage against them. For instance, you can propose a reduction to their lien, in exchange for agreeing to accept the personal injury settlement being offered by the insurance company.

In many cases, hospital providers and ERISA lien holders are willing to make practical concessions in order to insure they get paid something from the settlement proceeds. Quite often, they will acknowledge these payments as full and final payment of the amount owed on the account. While Medicare and Medicaid follow more strict guidelines for lien reductions, it’s important to ensure they are not claiming some part of your personal injury settlement to which they are not entitled.

Further Reading

If you want to get more questions answered, check out our Personal Injury Blog Articles.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you haven’t signed your release of all claims form yet, it’s not too late. You can still employ a personal injury attorney to protect you against the lien holders in your personal injury case. If you have questions about working with a personal injury lawyer, or if you have general questions about personal injury, call us today. You can call 704.749.7747 or click for a FREE CASE EVALUATION and we will contact you today. When it comes to choosing a personal injury law firm, we know you have options. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.

What Is The Car Accident Lawyer Process Like?

The car accident lawyer process, or working with a car accident lawyer, should be a painless experience for the injured party. Though, what probably comes as the biggest surprise to clients who hire a personal injury lawyer is the amount of time it takes to settle a claim.

In order to be sure to get maximum value for your personal injury settlement, your personal injury lawyer must put together several different aspects of your claim. Ultimately, these will be compiled and make up your demand package. Your demand package is a combination of the law firm’s theory of liability against the insurance company, supported by claims of damages directly related to the accident.

The Intake Process

The first step in understanding your car accident or slip and fall claim comes from the intake process. Some intake is done during the FREE CASE EVALUATION or phone consultation. During this time, the lawyer begins to understand the basic facts surrounding your accident. This includes a review of the police report, a discussion with you, and potentially a discussion with any witnesses who may have seen the accident.

Establishing The Claim

Once the intake is completed, we will start a claim for bodily injury with the insurance company representing the at-fault party. This serves to stop communication from the insurance company to you directly. It also puts the insurance company on notice that they have a potential lawsuit against them for the acts of one of their drivers.

The typical response from the insurance company is that they are investigating the claim, and they request we send them our theory of liability together with all documentation of injuries.

Confirming You Injuries And Treatment

If you are still treating, we will stay in touch with you periodically to confirm your treatment status. Once you have completed your treatment, we quickly place orders for all medical records and medical treatment you received from all providers. These serve to prove your injuries and establish your medical billing associated with the claim. Some of your billing will constitute medical liens which need to be paid through your settlement per federal or state law.

Establishing Medicare, Medicaid and ERISA Liens

While a medical provider can claim a lien against your settlement proceeds, they must do it by taking affirmative action. Medicare, Medicaid and some health insurance companies (ERISA LIENS) automatically have a lien created in their favor, depending upon whether they treated you for injuries related to the accident. It is your personal injury lawyer’s job to identify these liens and to be sure to address them from your settlement proceeds. A failure to do so can be catastrophic for you, financially. Identifying the liens prior to reaching a settlement ensures that your settlement is high enough to pay the liens and adequately compensate you for your loss.

Establishing And Documenting Lost Wages

If you have lost wages from your accident, your attorney will have your employer sign a Lost Wages Affidavit in conjunction with your demand package. This affidavit will be submitted in support of being reimbursed for lost wages. Quite often, your personal injury lawyer will need to defend the hours you missed, provide proof of income prior to the accident, and show your employer is being honest about the hours you missed and your rate of pay. Your medical records must also support the lost wages affidavit with notes indicating your physician wrote you out for work for the days in question.

Negotiating The Claim To Settlement

Negotiating your claim to settlement is a lengthy process. Insurance companies are notorious for low offers. They make attempts to de-value the medical treatment you received, and argue balances of your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. They attack your personal injury lawyer’s theory of liability and claim Contributory Negligence as a way to offer a lower settlement amount. We are accustomed to these strategies and we will defend against them at every turn.

Negotiating Your Medical Bills

Once we have decided together that you have your top offer, we will ask for your authority to negotiate your medical bills. While not all medical billing providers will reduce their billing, this quite often results in the lowering of your medical billing just prior to settlement. This serves to do one thing—put more money in your pocket. By minimizing the amount of your settlement that must go toward satisfying medical bills, we increase the amount you receive.

Receiving Your Check

The last aspect of your car accident lawyer process is distributing funds. Once you’ve reached settlement and signed a release for the settlement amount, your check typically arrives a week later. Your car accident lawyer process requires your car accident lawyer to deposit the funds into their NC State Bar trust account, and one day later we can disburse the funds to you and your medical providers. We also get paid at this time. You will sign off on a balance sheet or settlement sheet showing you all incoming funds, together with all disbursements. This way you know where every penny of your settlement funds went.

Tax Free Nature Of Settlement Proceeds

Most personal injury settlement proceeds are tax free. Exceptions would be where the settlement is specifically allocated to lost wages. In your typical injury settlement, this is not the case. For Workers’ Compensation claims, you will typically need to pay taxes on all lost and future wages being paid from the claim.

Speak With A Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you have questions about what the car accident lawyer process if like, or if you have general questions about a personal injury, call us today. You can call 704.749.7747 or click for a FREE CASE EVALUATION and we will contact you today. When it comes to choosing a personal injury law firm, we know you have options. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.

File bankruptcy

Social Security Benefits And The Means Test In Chapter 7

If your income is low enough, you will automatically qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, many clients have income slightly above the median income level, and must pass The Means Test in order to qualify for Chapter 7. This is not uncommon. The Means Test is simply a comparison of your income to your debts—some actual, and some allowances by the bankruptcy code.

Fortunately, The Means Test focuses on your most recent six months of income. This allows you to take advantage of some timing, if you have inconsistent income or unusual income which will not continue into the future. Your bankruptcy attorney will discuss this in more detail with you.

Types Of Income Included In The Means Test

The safe assumption is that every dollar hitting your accounts each month will be considered income for the purpose of The Means Test. This includes spousal support, support from family members, W-2 income, 1099 income, retirement income, and 401k early withdrawals.

Types Of Income NOT Included In The Means Test

While Veterans’ benefits DO count as income for The Means Test, Social Security benefits DO NOT. This means you may pass The Means Test if a large part of your income each month is Social Security benefits.

Current Monthly Income

Current Monthly Income is different from The Means Test calculation. Once you pass The Means Test, you still have to complete a budget reflective of your current income for the month. This is different from your income from the past six months. Additionally, you get to compare your actual expenses to your actual income for the month, where The Means Test does not always allow you to take your actual expenses. Even though your Social Security benefits will be counted in your Current Monthly Income, if you passed The Means Test, you should have nothing to worry about when it comes to Current Monthly Income calculations.

Further Reading

Want to learn more? Read one of over 100 articles on our Bankruptcy Blog Articles.

Speak With A Charlotte Bankruptcy Lawyer Today

The easiest way to get a better idea of whether you qualify for Chapter 7 is to speak with a Charlotte bankruptcy attorney today. You can call us at 704.749.7747 or click for a FREE CASE EVALUATION. After a brief discussion with an attorney, we can usually give you a good idea as to whether you will qualify for Chapter 7. We can also help confirm if a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 is the best choice for you.

How Much Does Chapter 13 Cost?

How Much Does Chapter 13 Cost?

In the Western District of North Carolina, the court sets the attorney base-fee at $4,500.00. However, you do not owe all of those funds prior to filing. You and your bankruptcy attorney will agree upon an amount you will pay prior to filing; the remainder will be built into your Chapter 13 plan, and paid over the course of your Chapter 13 case. There are also court filing fees, but again, those can typically be paid over time as part of your Chapter 13 plan payment.

What Determines My Chapter 13 Plan Payment?

Your Chapter 13 plan payment is a combination of both your ability to pay, and a comparison to what your creditors would receive if your assets were liquidated in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. Additionally, if you have mortgage arrears (missed payments) or vehicle lender arrears, those will need to be paid over time in your Chapter 13.

Ability To Pay In Chapter 13

Your ability to pay is simply a look at your ongoing monthly income and expenses. Your bankruptcy attorney will propose a payment to the court. This proposed payment will be examined. Essentially, any leftover funds each month after your ongoing household expenses are paid, should be your minimum monthly Chapter 13 payment.

Arrears And Other Priority Debt

If you have mortgage arrears, as mentioned above, those will need to be built into your Chapter 13 plan payment. Additionally, if you have IRS or state tax debt which is less than three years old, that will need to be re-paid in the plan. Your attorney will calculate your payment on these items, in addition to a small percentage to be paid to your unsecured creditors. These calculations will be compared to your budget, or your “Ability to pay” as discussed above. If your budget supports the proposed monthly payment, your plan should be approved by the court.

Length Of Your Chapter 13 Plan

Most Chapter 13 plans are five years or 60 months. If you want to propose a shorter plan, you will typically be required to pay the same amount but over the shorter period of time. In many cases, if you propose a plan shorter than five years, it must be a 100% plan. This means that your plan proposes to pay your unsecured creditors 100% over the course of the Plan. A typical five year plan will pay somewhere between 1% and 15% to the unsecured creditors, depending upon the factors mentioned in this article.

Speak With A Bankruptcy Attorney Today

The easiest way to get a better idea of what your Chapter 13 plan payment would be is to speak with a Charlotte bankruptcy attorney today. You can call us at 704.749.7747 or click for a FREE CASE EVALUATION. After a brief discussion with an attorney, and after submitting some documentation, we will be able to estimate a Chapter 13 plan payment for you. We can also confirm if a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 is the best choice for you.

bankruptcy expertise

Is My 403b Account Protected In Bankruptcy

Short Answer: Yes.

Much like a 401k plan, 403b retirement plans are protected in bankruptcy. If you are an employee of a state or county school, or a non-profit, you may have your retirement funds in a 403b retirement plan. While these funds do need to be disclosed upon filing bankruptcy, the bankruptcy trustee will acknowledge the bankruptcy exemption protecting those funds.

What If I Withdraw 403b Funds Prior To Bankruptcy?

If you take money out of a 401k or 403b account prior to bankruptcy, you should be aware that you will probably have tax consequences for early withdrawal. In terms of your bankruptcy, you should disclose those withdrawals to your bankruptcy attorney. Typically, those withdrawals will be treated as income for the purposes of passing The Means Test in bankruptcy. While this may sound unfair, this treatment is only for bankruptcy filing purposes, and usually will not upset the results of your Means Test. The Means Test helps to answer the question Can I File Bankruptcy?

Do 403b Loans Survive Bankruptcy?

If you have a loan against your 403b retirement funds, that loan will be treated as a secured loan for the purpose of your bankruptcy filing . In a Chapter 7 filing, the loan will survive the filing. In a Chapter 13 filing, the same result occurs; however, you will typically continue to pay on the retirement loan during your Chapter 13 repayment plan. This will help to reduce the balance and maybe even pay it off during the course of your Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Speak With A Charlotte Bankruptcy Attorney Today

If you have questions about filing bankruptcy, we’re here to help. Case evaluations and consultations can be conducted by phone and are free of charge. You can call us at 704.749.7747 or click for a FREE CASE EVALUATION and we will reach out to you today. We know you have choices. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.

Does bankruptcy clear federal tax debt

Is My Car Accident Settlement Taxable?

The General Rule is NO

Generally, your car accident settlement is not taxable. The fundamental reasoning behind this is you are being compensated not for work, but for loss of enjoyment of life. That is a non-taxable event. This is true in the context of filing bankruptcy as well; a settlement for which you have not yet been compensated generally will not be treated as an asset in your bankruptcy filing.

The Internal Revenue Service has published an opinion regarding settlements. Here is part of that opinion:

If you receive a settlement for personal physical injuries or physical sickness and did not take an itemized deduction for medical expenses related to the injury or sickness in prior years, the full amount is non-taxable. Do not include the settlement proceeds in your income.

Medical Bills In Accident Settlements

Reimbursements or car accident settlements related to paying medical bills are also generally non-taxable. There is an exception if you have taken a prior year tax deduction for those same medical bills; however, this is a question more specifically designed to be answered by whoever prepares your tax returns each year.

Pain and Suffering

Generally, pain and suffering damages paid in a car accident are non-taxable. Again, consistent with the reasoning above, these payments are not for wages but instead meant to return you to the position you were in prior to the accident, albeit with a monetary payment. As such, these payments do not constitute income for taxation purposes.

The Lost Wages Exception

If your car accident settlement is compensating you for lost wages, that portion of your settlement may be taxable; however, most settlements are general in nature and do not specifically state that the settlement is for lost wages. Workers’ Compensation settlements are an exception. During the settlement negotiations, even if your personal injury lawyer is arguing that your settlement should be higher due to lost wages, this may not trigger a taxable settlement. When the settlement is actually reached, if it does not specifically state all or a portion is related to lost wages, you have a very good argument with the IRS that your settlement is not taxable.

Structuring Your Car Accident Settlement

If you receive a large settlement, you may choose to structure the settlement in such a way as to limit or minimize the taxability of the settlement proceeds. Primarily, you can negotiate with the insurance company to categorize as much of the settlement as possible in non-taxable language. Remember, pain and suffering is non-taxable generally, while anything assigned to lost wages may be taxable. Second, you can choose to receive your settlement over time (years), which may lessen the tax burden for each year. This is a rare situation, as most settlements are paid out in one lump sum. However, if you have a permanent disability resulting from your accident and you are receiving  a lump sum for future years of lost wages, you may have a choice to receive those payments in yearly installments. This may serve to limit your tax liability. Your personal injury lawyer and an accountant can assist you with these choices as you approach settlement.

Further Reading

Read about hundreds of personal injury topics by visiting our Personal Injury Blog.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you have questions about whether a personal injury settlement is taxable, or if you have general questions about a personal injury, call us today. You can call 704.749.7747 or click for a FREE CASE EVALUATION and we will contact you today. When it comes to choosing a personal injury law firm, we know you have options. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.

File Bankruptcy Layton Law

How Long Does Bankruptcy Take?

There are two parts to your bankruptcy: pre-petition and post-petition. During the pre-petition phase of bankruptcy, the pace at which we move is generally determined by the client. In other words, if the goal is to file the bankruptcy, our firm is usually ready to do so before the client is ready. So the timing will be dependent upon how quickly you can get us the information we need, and payment. A good estimate is that it will typically take 2 weeks to a month minimum, to file. Most clients are filed within 2 months of beginning to work with us.

Post-petition, your bankruptcy filing will move along a more or less ‘set’ schedule, as determined by the court and outlined below. While there are some exceptions, you can generally rely on the timelines below.

Five Phases To Get Your Bankruptcy Filed

Entering Information – After a brief phone consultation, we will provide you with a login and password where you can begin entering information online. You do NOT need to manually enter information about your creditors. We will take care of that by ordering a credit report through our bankruptcy software. You will need to provide us with information about your last 6 months of income, you monthly expenses, and whatever property you own.

Review and Follow-Up – We will review your information and follow-up with you about specific items. For instance, if you tell us you sold property in the last 2 years, we will probably ask you for some specifics about that sale. We will also be able to confirm for you whether you will pass The Means Test for Chapter 7, and begin to estimate a payment if you’re filing Chapter 13.

Submitting Documents – There’s a list of documents we MUST have before we can provide you with a rough draft of your bankruptcy petition. This phase of gathering information is extremely important, as our bankruptcy filing with the court must match your actual account activity and filed tax returns, etc.

Online Credit Counseling – Prior to filing, you must complete an online credit counseling course. The course is paid for by our firm, and is purely educational. It’s not pass/fail. However, you will need to get the certification by completing the course. That certification is filed with your bankruptcy filing. Don’t worry, it’s all highly automated and the certificate comes directly to our email when you complete the online course.

Review and Sign Your Petition – Once we have gone over a draft of your bankruptcy petition and made any necessary changes, you will come into the office to physically sign your petition. The petition will then be filed electronically and a bankruptcy case number will be provided at that time. We will let you know immediately what your bankruptcy case number is and you can provide it to creditors if you receive any phone calls after filing.

Post-Petition Timeline

The Post-Petition timeline below is for Chapter 7 filings. While Chapter 13 filing have many of the same deadlines, you will not receive your Discharge until you make your final Chapter 13 plan payment. Chapter 13 plans are typically proposed at 60 months (5 years). While you can propose a shorter term, the total amount you pay will typically remain the same or increase. As a result, a shorter term results in a higher payment. We are happy to discuss this with you, as each Chapter 13 plan is unique.

Financial Management Course – (After filing, but before your 341 meeting date) Before you attend your 341 meeting, you should complete the 2nd and final online counseling course, known as the Financial Management course. It is purely educational and our firm pays for it. It is a requirement to receiving your Discharge in bankruptcy, so it’s important that you get it done. Don’t worry, we will remind you.

341 Meeting – (40 days after filing) About 5 days after filing, your case will be assigned a 341 meeting date. This date is typically about 40 days after filing, and in Charlotte it’s on a Wednesday. The meeting takes place near the Federal Courthouse, in a more informal setting with the bankruptcy trustee. There are typically no surprises at the 341 meeting. The trustee usually has reviewed your bankruptcy filing and asks a few follow up questions, and sometimes requests documents or bank statements which we have 14 days to supply to him or her.

Objections to Exemptions – (30 days after the 341 meeting) Your creditors and the trustee have 30 days after the 341 meeting to object to your Exemptions. Exemptions are statutory, and they are allowances which help you to protect your assets. For instance, there is a vehicle exemption of $3,500, a homestead exemption of $35,000, etc. We will go over all of your exemptions with you and use them to protect your property. Prior to filing your bankruptcy, you will know that your property is protected.

Objections To Discharge – (60 days after 341 meeting) The deadline for objections to Discharge is 60 days after the 341 meeting date. There’s nothing for you to do, but in our office we will be waiting to see if any creditors object to your Discharge. Typically, they do not. If they do, we will contact you and address the objection by filing a response with the court.

Entry of Discharge – Roughly 120 days after you file your bankruptcy, and all the deadlines for objections has passed, your Discharge will be entered, and your case will be closed.

Paying For Your Bankruptcy

We understand paying for bankruptcy is difficult when money is already tight. We try to be as flexible as possible when it comes to payment. We will gladly review your information before asking for any money from you. Once we confirm you will qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, we ask for a deposit. With the deposit made, we will continue to work on your case and you can tell your creditors you have legal representation. We can file your bankruptcy when you make your final payment.

Further Reading

If you’d like to read about additional bankruptcy topics, visit the Bankruptcy Articles page, where we have over 100 articles covering everything from credit scores to back taxes.

Speak With A Charlotte Bankruptcy Attorney Today

If you would like to discuss filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, call us at 704.749.7747 or click for a FREE CASE EVALUATION and we will reach out to you today. Bankruptcy is powerful relief from debt. It truly is a fresh start. We’d be happy to help you on your way to recover, and we hope you choose to Recover With Us.

How Much Does An MRI Cost?

According to data released from NerdWallet Health, an MRI costs on average about $2,611.00. Your insurance may pay for some or all of that expense. Any way you look at it though, it’s an expensive procedure. Additionally, you’ll receive a separate charge from the Radiologist to read the MRI. If your physician requests contrast dyes in conjunction with the MRI, the price goes up further.

Is An MRI Important For My Personal Injury Case?

If your doctor recommends one, you should have one done. In any case, an MRI can reveal injuries which an X-ray will not reveal. An MRI of the brain and spinal cord can reveal brain tumors, MS, stroke, and problems with your eyes and ears. An MRI of the bones and joints reveals herniated discs, fractures, torn ligaments and tendons, and arthritis.

Put quite simply, the value of your car accident or slip and fall increases if your injuries increase. In other words, the purpose of a personal injury lawsuit or settlement is to make you whole again. As a result, the primary thing you must prove to the insurance adjuster or to the jury, is that you have suffered an injury which has left you in a worse state than you were in prior to the accident. An MRI, together with a doctor’s medical notes, becomes evidence of those injuries sustained in a car accident or slip and fall accident.

Today you may be wondering how much it will cost, but if your doctor recommends an MRI and you forego getting one, you may find out that your personal injury claim is worth less than full value. Your medical bills are typically paid through your personal injury settlement, especially if they are filed as a personal injury settlement lien.

Next Steps For Car Accident Or Slip And Fall Accidents

If you have been injured in a car accident or slip and fall accident, you should seek medical treatment immediately. The primary reason of course is to be sure of what treatment you might need—allowing injuries to go untreated can exacerbate them and make them worse. Second, if you do have a personal injury claim, a delay in treatment will serve to lower the value of your personal injury claim or personal injury case.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Need help or advice? That’s why we’re here. Call us today to speak with an attorney. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click for a FREE CASE EVALUATION and we’ll reach out to you today. When it comes to choosing a personal injury law firm, we know you have options. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.