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Warrendale Bankruptcy Legal Blog

Woman injured in a car accident in which driver fled

Hit-and-run accidents present many difficult issues. Since the law states that a driver who is in a crash is legally obligated to stop whether there were injuries or not, a crash quickly turns into an investigation with an arrest likely when the person who fled is found. For those who were injured in a car accident, legal assistance is essential regardless of the circumstances, but particularly so when it is a hit-and-run.

A 20-year-old woman was hurt when she was hit by a pickup truck as she crossed the street. The accident happened at around 7 p.m. and the driver of the pickup fled the scene. She was taken to the hospital and said to be stable. As law enforcement sought the driver, they were informed that it was a white male with a beard driving a red pickup. He was said to have exited the vehicle after the crash, looked at the victim, then gotten back into the vehicle and departed the scene. The next morning, a 34-year-old man came forward and admitted he was the driver. He is expected to be charged with causing an accident with death or personal injury, reckless driving, and not notifying police after an accident.

New hands-free systems can cause distracted driving

Distracted driving is a problem in Pennsylvania and across the U.S. Since it is a known reason for car accidents with injuries and fatalities, there are attempts on the part of government agencies, law enforcement and even carmakers to find ways to increase safety. It is unrealistic to think that people will stop using their smartphones when driving no matter the punishments and advertising campaigns designed to dissuade them from the practice. With that, new technology built in to vehicles is on the increase. However, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a study into this new technology and discovered that it is dangerous itself.

Drivers can take as long as 40 seconds to program a navigation system in a vehicle. This is an extended period to be distracted and can cause a crash. These systems also allow drivers to send text messages and surf the web giving them distractions that are not connected to driving as navigation is. The president and CEO of AAA states that the main goal for automakers should be to create systems that do not cause distractions in physical or mental aspects.

Similarities and differences in bankruptcy types

One of the primary decisions you will have to make when you decide to file for bankruptcy is what chapter of protection you will file. There are two main personal bankruptcy types: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. While there are some similarities between these two types, there are also some important differences.

Understanding what each chapter of bankruptcy can do for you will help you to make the most informed decision. On top of the benefits of each type, you should learn about what obligations you will have. Here are some important points for you to know about personal bankruptcy:

Can I file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and keep certain properties?

Pennsylvanians who are facing significant debt and have no reasonable way to get out of it might consider methods to get into a better financial situation. For many, personal bankruptcy is not something they are willing to think about because of the stigma they believe is attached to it. Along with the misconceptions about the process, they also think that they will lose everything including their motor vehicle and home. However, with Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the reality is that you can keep your home and keep your motor vehicle provided the criteria for the filing is met.

Although Chapter 7 is called a "liquidation" bankruptcy, that is something of a misnomer and is easily misunderstood by those who are overwhelmed in their current situation. Certain properties are protected from liquidation. There is a homestead exemption. Pennsylvania itself does not have a homestead exemption, but the debtor can use the federal law to protect homes with equity up to $22,975 for an individual and $45,950 for a couple. These numbers sometimes change. The person must also have resided in the property for at least 40 months.

Pedestrian dies due to motor vehicle accident injuries

Pedestrians are inherently vulnerable to injuries and wrongful death when they are hit by a car. These accidents can happen when the person is crossing in the crosswalk and obeying all the basic rules for pedestrian safety. Because these people are in such danger for serious injuries and death, it is important for the injured person and his or her family to understand whether it happened because of recklessness, due to an unfortunate circumstance, because of a driver's negligent actions or for any other reason. They must also know their rights to seek compensation through a legal filing.

A woman died when she was hit by a car as she was on her way to church. The accident occurred at around 9:30 a.m. The woman, 86, was in the crosswalk when the crash happened. She was taken to the hospital where she died. The law enforcement investigation states that the driver did not show signs of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They are trying to discern why he did not stop in the crosswalk when the woman was crossing. The investigation is continuing.

Motorcyclist suffers serious injuries in hit-and-run accident

The roads in Pittsburgh can be dangerous regardless of what type of vehicle a person is using, but it can exponentially dangerous for those who are on a motorcycle. The combination of reckless driving on the part of those in conventional vehicles, distracted driving, failing to follow the law and ignoring traffic signals can cause motorcyclists to be injured in a car accident. Those who have been hurt in this type of crash should be aware of their rights to seek compensation in a legal filing.

A crash between a car and a motorcycle at around 9 p.m. sent the motorcyclist to the hospital trauma unit. The rider was approaching an intersection when a vehicle coming from the other direction turned in its path. There was a crash. The 20-year-old motorcyclist was thrown and went down an embankment. The female driver of the 2014 Ford Focus initially departed the scene making it a hit-and-run. She eventually turned herself in and is now facing multiple charges including texting and driving, aggravated assault by vehicle and more. The investigation is continuing.

Important points about repayment plans with a Chapter 13

For people in Pennsylvania who are filing for bankruptcy, the circumstances will dictate which chapter they will use. While Chapter 7 is a liquidation and is often viewed as the easiest course of action, some debtors want to keep a home and a motor vehicle. They are also wage earners meaning that the courts will steer them toward a Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead. With Chapter 13 there are repayment requirements. However, the debtor might not fully understand certain aspects such as how the repayment plan is structured, how much must be paid, how long the payment plan will last, and what happens if the payments are not made.

With Chapter 13, the repayment plan is key. There will be a description in the paperwork as to how much must be paid to reduce the debts. Certain debts are required to be completely paid. These are known as priority debts. They are viewed as more important than others. Examples might be child support or taxes. If there are secured debts like a home or an auto, these must also be described in the payment plan. Debts upon which the debtor has fallen behind must be included in any payment plan. Any disposable income after making payments on secured debts will go toward the repayment of unsecured debts. If there is no disposable income, then this will not be an issue, but the debtor must make a good faith effort to pay.

Can I qualify for Chapter 11 as an individual?

In most instances of personal bankruptcy, an individual evaluates the advantages and drawbacks of using either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. These two forms of bankruptcy actually account for more than 99 percent of all individual bankruptcies filed in the United States each year.

However, in some specific circumstances it is possible that an individual may file for bankruptcy under Chapter 11, which is intended primarily for businesses who hope to keep creditors at bay long enough to turn the ship around and reach profitability.

A lawsuit can help pay for motor vehicle accident injuries

When there is a car accident in Warrendale and throughout Pennsylvania, the best-case scenario is that there will be no injuries to those involved. Unfortunately, that is not always the outcome.

People who are in a car crash might not appear injured, but they may later manifest back, neck or head injuries. Then, there are the accidents with obvious injuries, like broken bones, lacerations, bruises and more. These injuries can cause long-term damage, even death. With the medical bills and other costs that accompany these crashes, it is important to understand how a legal filing can be beneficial to get compensation.

What are the fees and necessary information with Chapter 13?

When a Pennsylvanian decides that he or she will move forward with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy to get back on stronger financial ground, it is not a decision that is taken lightly. Since Chapter 13 is considered a "wage earners" plan and requires that there be the formulation of a payment plan that will be completed within three or five years depending on the situation, it is promoted as allowing the person to "keep your home" and "keep your motor vehicle." However, there are basic issues that are important to the entire process. These include the fees that must be paid and the information that must be provided to the courts.

There is a fee of $235 to file and a miscellaneous administrative fee of $75. Generally, the fees must be paid to the clerk when the filing is made. The payments can be made in installments if the court gives permission. There is a limit of four installments and the last payment must be made at least 120 days after the petition was filed. If there is cause, the court can give an extension provided it is paid no more than 180 days after the petition was filed. The $75 administrative fee can also be paid in installments. For those filing jointly, only one filing and administrative fee is charged.

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