As a Philadelphia bankruptcy attorney, one of the most common questions I am asked involves Chapter 7 bankruptcy exemptions. While the concept of debt relief through bankruptcy is relatively straightforward, understanding the rules surrounding what property and assets you will be permitted to keep can be complicated.
Though the long-standing tradition is that law firms bill clients by the hour, the legal industry is starting to see a shift by some law firms to value-based pricing for legal services. The value-based pricing model has been widely used in the business world for more than 50 years. In recent years inflation and rising costs for legal services have prompted some attorneys to look to viable alternatives to the traditional time-based billing method.
The holiday season is here and the new year is around the corner. During this time of year our Philadelphia law firm sees a rise in bankruptcy and personal injury cases. Whether from the financial strain and overspending common during the Christmas holiday or the dangerous road conditions and often alcohol-fueled holiday celebrations that lead to accidents, the holiday season and new year are popular times for personal injury and bankruptcy cases.
“’Tis the Season” for Personal Injury
As experienced personal injury attorneys, every year we see the holiday season bring with it an increase in the number of personal injury cases involving injuries and deaths as a result of motor vehicle accidents occurring during the time period just before Thanksgiving through the day after the New Year holiday.
The most common factors that tend to cause this holiday season spike include:
- More drivers on the road traveling to be with family and friends
- Icy, wet and dangerous road conditions
- Fatigued drivers on traveling long distances
With more people on the road heading to attend holiday parties, there is an increase in accidents with drunk drivers and passengers overlooking safety precautions due to alcohol-impaired judgment. According to the NHTSA, during the 2018 Thanksgiving holiday weekend, nearly one in three traffic fatalities involved a drunk driver and almost half of all passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes were unbuckled. And, just a few weeks later during Christmas and New Year, the rates for automobile accident fatalities that involved alcohol went up to more than 40 percent. With alcoholic beverages consumed at many holiday events this statistic comes as no surprise.
Ringing in the New Year with Bankruptcy
For some, overspending from Christmas gift-giving, travel, and unplanned holiday expenses result in ringing in the new year overwhelmed by debt. Once the festivities from the holidays are over, they find their financial situation is no longer manageable and a solution must be found. Often, that solution is to seek debt relief through Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
If you anticipate this holiday season may drive you further into debt and push your finances over the edge, learning more about bankruptcy rules and debt relief options is important. For instance, running up debt and increasing spending right before filing bankruptcy can be looked upon negatively by a bankruptcy court and even considered fraudulent borrowing. Don’t put your financial future at risk. Get experienced assistance to decide whether bankruptcy is the right decision for your situation.
Contact Alfred Abel Law Offices For Philadelphia-Area Legal Counsel
The attorneys at Alfred Abel Law Offices are dedicated to providing clients in Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas with practical and effective legal advice. With more than 30 years as a practicing personal injury and bankruptcy attorney, Alfred Abel, Esq. has the necessary expertise and skills to meet the diverse needs of both bankruptcy and personal injury clients. Contact Alfred Abel Law Offices at 215-517-8300 to schedule your consultation.
One unfortunate aspect of working as a Philadelphia bankruptcy lawyer is knowing that a great many business bankruptcies might have been avoided. Sometimes catastrophes happen, or bad luck ruins a good business plan, but often, small and medium-sized business (SMB) owners call a bankruptcy lawyer due to inexperience or costly decisions over time. Sometimes calling a bankruptcy lawyer before the situation is too dire can yield solutions other than bankruptcy.
As a Philadelphia personal injury attorney, I field a wide range of questions from clients dealing with the difficult and painful aftermath of a car accident. Whether injured in a multi-car pile-up commuting into Philadelphia or making a quick trip to the neighborhood market, being involved in a car is stressful and often traumatic.
While every car accident has its own unique set of facts and circumstances, here are five frequently asked questions that arise regarding personal injury.
Nearly everyone filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy does so with the best of intentions. Everyone wants their Chapter 13 to succeed, particularly if they have chosen Chapter 13 specifically so they can protect certain assets they want to hang onto. However, any Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney in Philadelphia can attest that sometimes bankruptcies do fail.
If you have suffered bodily harm as the result of an injury or an accident you have a right to be compensated for damages caused by the party responsible for injury or accident. With most personal injury cases, the party responsible for the accident (and their insurance company) will do their best to minimize their cost and settle the case with the lowest damages award possible. Personal injury cases become more complicated where the injured party has a pre-existing injury or condition aggravated or worsened as a result of the accident.
Pre-existing Injuries Can Affect the Outcome of Your Case
If an injury is related to a pre-existing injury or condition aggravated by the accident, you can count on the insurance company fighting aggressively to limit any financial award. While you are not entitled to receive damages for any condition that existed before the accident, you have every right to receive damages for any physical or mental conditions aggravated or made worse by the accident. The complications and disputes arise when making the distinction between the prior injury and the current injury.
Disclose Any Pre-Existing Injuries
Having full knowledge of any previous injury or condition is critical. If your injury is made worse by a preexisting injury or health condition you do not want to hide that information or evidence from your attorney. Full disclosure is absolutely required. He or she needs to be fully equipped to strategize and advocate on your behalf to achieve the best case result.
When you file a personal injury case, the defendant’s insurance company will have the right to access to your medical history and health records. Those medical records will be scrutinized in fine detail, so any attempt or efforts to withhold or minimize such information can only hurt your credibility and the outcome of your case.
Evidence Through Medical Records
A number of pre-existing conditions could become relevant in a personal injury case. From high blood pressure and bulging discs to depression and anxiety, most physical or mental conditions experienced prior to an accident could be considered pre-existing conditions. The medical records provide the documentation of prior conditions and provide a valuable reference point for comparison. For an experienced personal injury attorney, these records can provide a strategic advantage when trying to show how an accident either aggravated a pre-existing condition or caused more severe injuries than one would expect.
Pre-Existing Injuries in a Pennsylvania Personal Injury Case
In Pennsylvania personal injury cases, if the aggravation of a pre-existing injury or condition occurs, the party at fault is liable for damages. Standard jury instructions are given to Pennsylvania jurors to help them determine the amount to award for damages. Specifically, they provide:
“Damages should be awarded for all injuries caused — even if:
- the injuries caused by the [accident] [occurrence] were more severe than could have been foreseen because of the plaintiff’s prior physical condition; or
- a preexisting medical condition was aggravated by” the accident. [Standard Civil Jury Instruction 6.03]
Call Personal Injury Lawyer Alfred Abel for Help With a Claim Involving a Pre-Existing Injury
If you have been injured in an accident, especially if you have a pre-existing injury or condition, be sure to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to get the best possible outcome for your claim. Contact us today to set up a consultation and learn more about complications presented by pre-existing injuries and conditions.
One of the main tasks of a Philadelphia Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney is helping our clients understand which forms of bankruptcy they may qualify for. Many people want Chapter 7, because this form is relatively quick compared to Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
When you are going to meet with a personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia, what you want to hear is that you have a great case. However, a lot of factors influence whether a personal injury lawyer will consider your case a strong one. Every case is different, but at the same time, some factors increase the likelihood that a case will be successful for a client.
As a Philadelphia bankruptcy attorney, I am often asked about the benefits of Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Despite common misconceptions, filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be the best, and sometimes the only option depending upon a debtor’s circumstances. Avoiding forced liquidation of assets, like a home or car, the most common items that people want to avoid losing, makes a Chapter 13 bankruptcy more desirable than other alternatives.