Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Jan 03

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is an option where you are given the chance to keep your properties, but in return you have to reorganize your debts in order to draft a payment scheme that you will adhere for a certain amount of time, say three to five years. This form of bankruptcy is not for everyone, as it requires you to use your own income to repay parts of your debt, thus it is important for you to prove in the court that you have the ability (and income) to keep up with your payment responsibilities.

Repayment plan is the most important aspect of Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This will plan out how much you will pay for each debt, as well as the way you will pay them. It will be up to you and the courts to determine your repayment plan, and this will also depend on you income and the debts you have. If have stumbled upon an issue where you are unable to pay for your debts, you will be given an option to modify your plan or ask the court to have some of your debts discharged, otherwise you might convert to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

After completion of your repayment for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will have to provide evidence that you are up-to-date with your alimony or child support obligations and have attended and completed a budget counseling course (form an approved US Trustee) in order to receive a bankruptcy discharge.

Employee’s Rights vs the Various Forms of Wrongful Termination

Employee’s Rights vs the Various Forms of Wrongful Termination

Oct 16

Wrongful termination/discharge/dismissal is one situation wherein the termination of an employee from work violates any of the provisions in the employment law or any of the terms stipulated in the contract of employment. All employees in the US have protective employee rights against wrongful termination. These Employee Rights are based on:

  • Statutory Rights: these are mandated by the state or federal government and require an advance notice of the closure of or a facility or sizeable lay-offs (due to retrenchment), provision of unemployment insurance and protection through anti-retaliation and anti-discrimination laws;
  • Company Policy: states the provision of severance payment in case of company lay-offs; and,
  • Contract Rights: an employee’s individual contract with his/her employers which may be sheltered by a union/collective bargaining agreement.

If, despite these rights, an employee sees foul play in losing his or her job, then the Wrongful Termination Law can be used to determine whether the termination was proper or not. This law also provides possible remedies in cases of wrongful removal from work.

The usual reported causes of wrongful termination include discrimination, retaliation, refusal of employee to perform an illegal act (at the command of the employer), failure of employer to abide by the company’s policies on termination procedures and whistle blowing or complaining.

Besides wrongful termination, there are two other means used by employers to terminate an employee:

  • Constructive dismissal –a voluntary decision (by the employee) to quit from work arrived at due to the unbearable working conditions at the doings of the employer. These conditions may take the form of unconstructive changes in work and/or pay, harassment and/or discrimination.

This voluntary resignation may be legally compared to wrongful discharge; the employee only needs to prove that he/she has quit work due to a breach of contract by the employer. The Employment Rights Act of 1996 states that any employee, who ends his/her employment contract due to the employer’s conduct, may be considered as illegally dismissed.

According to the United States Department of Labor, constructive discharge happens “when a worker’s resignation or retirement may be found not to be voluntary because the employer has created a hostile or intolerable work environment or has applied other forms of pressure or coercion which forced the employee to quit or resign. This often arises when an employer makes significant and severe changes in the terms and conditions of a worker’s employment.”

  • The “Employment at Will” Doctrine – simply means that any employee may be dismissed (even without notice) or can resign from work any time even without valid reason/s. There are circumstances, though, which will render this doctrine not applicable, such as (if the employee is covered by) a contract of employment, a company policy that provides termination procedure and a collective bargaining agreement.

An employee should understand that if ever he/she has been terminated from work and he/she strongly feels and believes that this termination is in violation of his/her rights, then seeking legal assistance is essential. Not only are employment laws complex, but there is also a statute of limitation in filing for a wrongful termination lawsuit plus the need to forward a claim to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) prior to filing a lawsuit.

Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer

Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer

Oct 04

Choosing to file for bankruptcy can be a difficult decision, particularly since it can affect your records for a certain period of time; however it may be the best option because it gives you the chance to organize your finances and clear up your debt, enabling you to start over.

One of the many options is Chapter 7 bankruptcy, as it helps in discharging almost all of the debts. Another benefit of Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that it helps keep the creditors from taking over the properties, such as have homes foreclosed, and avoid any harassment from them. With the limited amount of money available, a lot of people who choose to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy choose to file them themselves. Here are pointers on how to do exactly that.

After confirming that you are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the next action is to have at least three (3) copies of your credit report, since most of the credit bureaus do not have a copy of them and there is a possibility that one report may be different from the other. Ensure that your credit report have the addresses of every creditors since you need them in your forms.

Make sure to complete your mandatory credit counseling course (you’ll be given a certification after completing it), and the course typically costs about $30. Get this counseling course from a credited company. Then find out which Federal Court jurisdiction you belong, and then complete your necessary bankruptcy paperwork. With your completed paperwork and certificate of completion from the counseling course, file your petition to the bankruptcy clerk, making sure you have the date for the “meeting of creditors”.

While waiting for the meeting with the creditors, make sure you respond to all the letters sent to you (either from the trustee or the court). Bring together things such as past two months pay stubs and bank statements, last year’s tax forms, and any real estate paperwork that may be asked by the bankruptcy trustee. Make sure you attend the meeting of creditors and answer their questions honestly.

Within 45 days after the creditors meeting, you should complete the post-filing of personal financial management instruction course (which cost $30) otherwise you might run the risk of having your case dismissed if you have failed to complete it. After receiving your certification of completion of this course, submit the certificate as you have been instructed in your letters, then wait until you receive the final correspondence stating that your debts have been discharged.

This may seem easy to follow, however it is always strongly advised to get a lawyer to help with these process. Many things can go awry, and you might not be able to defend your case properly. Having legal representation present to guide and advise you on the next step will guarantee that your case will end in a positive result.

Dangers of Tailgating

Dangers of Tailgating

Sep 19

Some people may not be aware of the dangers of tailgating. Tailgating is a form of aggressive driving, where another driver is driving too close to the car in front of him. More often than not, tailgating drivers use this maneuver to express their impatience and frustration to the driver in front of them. Although it may seem harmless, in many occasions tailgating has lead to many rear-end accidents and often lead to road rage and retaliation incidents.

Experienced drivers do tailgating because of the technique called drafting. Drafting is often used in car racing because during drafting, there is less or no wind resistance to the car doing the tailgating because the one in front is taking it all, therefore making it easier to overtake to the front. For inexperienced drivers, these situations can cause severe accidents because it lowers the reaction time for any sudden changes. Another thing to lookout for during tailgating is turning into corners. Tailgating to another vehicle while turning corners is just an ego boost to many.

To know if you are tailgating, try practicing the “three second rule”; making sure that you have enough time to react to any sudden changes from the driver in front. Human’s reaction to danger takes about one to four seconds, therefore having enough space ensures that you can safely drive next to another driver and prevent any accidents that may happen on the road. Also, poor driving conditions can increase the chances of road accidents.

Penalties for tailgating can vary depending on each state law, but it often includes fines and demerits in accordance to how dangerous you were driving. Tailgating is prohibited, and is a negligent act that goes against road safety. Those who do these kinds of acts are punishable by the law.

Long-Term Disability Basics

Long-Term Disability Basics

Sep 18

Becoming injured or ill on the job can mean that you have to take time off from work in order to recover. If this time off lasts for a long period of time, it can lead to a significant blow to your finances because of medical bills and lost wages. However, injuries or illnesses that prevent someone from working for more than a year are considered long-term disabilities, and can make you eligible for Social Security disability benefits in Texas.

Most long-term disability claims are due to an illness. Cancer, heart problems, psychiatric problems, or musculoskeletal or neurological disorders are typical illnesses that require long-term disability benefits. However, having a certain illness or injury is not enough to qualify you for long-term disability. There are a variety of different requirement you have to fulfill in order to successfully apply for disability benefits. For example, you must have worked full-time for an employer for a certain amount of time. Long term benefits are available only after short term disability runs out, and is paid through your employer, a group plan, or an individual insurance plan.

You can still be denied benefits even if you met the requirements of filing for long-term disability. In the event of denial of benefits, you would need to file for an appeal. The site of the Chris Mayo Injury Lawyers explains that filing for an appeal can be a daunting task. However, choosing to hire a lawyer for your appeal can be more beneficial that filing on your own because they can ensure timely filing, correct problems with your initial application, and effectively manage the appeal application process. If you or someone you love has a condition that prevents you from working, pursuing Social Security disability benefits may offer the financial assistance you need in order to prevent a deteriorating financial situation.

Workplace Hazards: Dangers That Can Very Well Be Averted

Workplace Hazards: Dangers That Can Very Well Be Averted

Sep 16

The West Virginia coal mine explosion in April 2010, which claimed the lives of 29 people, oil rig south that blew up south of Louisiana, and the fire at a Washington State oil refinery, have all renewed the strict campaign of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in ensuring a workplace that is medically safe and compliant with US government’s safety standard.

OSHA, a branch of the federal government that enforces health and safety laws, was enacted to eradicate the threats and hazards of chemical exposure and unsafe work environments which caused millions of injuries and illnesses in the US each year. Prior to OSHA, workplace hazards (some of which were due to chemical exposure) accounted for about 300,000 job-related illnesses, 2.5 million job-related disabilities and 14,000 deaths. Its creation, however, mandated employers to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for all employees by determining exposure limits to toxic materials (like asbestos, lead and vinyl chloride), providing employees with personal protective equipment, evaluating the presence and effects of hazardous chemicals in their workplace and, if necessary, eliminating these.

Furthermore, in 1983, OSHA published the Hazard Communication Standard, the program that became famous under the heading, “Right to Know” laws, and which specifically required importers and manufacturers of chemicals to assess the dangers associated with the chemicals they manufacture and distribute and make sure that such information is included in the product’s container labels. The program also mandated all employers to train their employees whose job required exposure to hazardous chemicals.

Construction sites workers are the ones most prone to work-related accidents and that hundreds of thousands of workers are either severely injured or killed each year due to construction site accidents. There is another job, however, where workers may not be endangered by enormous equipment and dangerous tools, but are definitely prone to job-related illnesses and disabilities due to direct, and sometimes prolonged, exposure to toxic/dangerous chemicals – professional cleaning.

The cleaning industry is a very dynamic sector as it represents one of the largest services required by both public and private enterprises. Many risks and hazards threaten professional cleaners, though, including: exposure to hazardous substances, like biological agents which can cause asthma, allergies, and blood-borne infections; slips, trips, and falls, especially when working in a wet, slippery environment; and, electrical hazards from equipment used during work.

According to Joe Miller Law, Ltd, there are many other forms of workplace dangers employees may be exposed to, but most of these can be averted, if not completely prevented, with due diligence and strict compliance with OSHA stipulations, as well as through job hazard analysis and risk mapping.

Creating a Workplace that is Medically Safe and Compliant with Legal Standards

Creating a Workplace that is Medically Safe and Compliant with Legal Standards

Sep 16

Many times in the past, employers have hired job applicants, only to land them in inappropriate positions since applicant evaluation involved only simple aptitude tests or a run through of the applicant’s resume. This hiring method has, more often than not, resulted to stressed and unproductive employees, absenteeism, fast employee turnover, workplace accidents and costly claims (compensation) – losses and costs that manifest some sort of failure (whatever or wherever it is) on the company’s part. Today, allowing a professional functional employment testing firm will help employers not only to do away with all those unwanted eventualities, but hire the right and best people and land them in jobs most appropriate for them.

Since the 1990s, when WorkSTEPS, Inc. was developed by Larry Feeler, a certified physical therapist, the process of hiring in many firms has had major changes. Allowing WorkSTEPS, Inc. to play a key role in the hiring process, workers, especially new hires, have been matched with the right job, while absenteeism, lost time, employee turnover, compensation claims and work site accident/injury have been significantly reduced. One company has even enjoyed a cutback in work-related injuries and workers’ compensation claims amounting to about three quarters of a million dollars – definitely big savings that will make business owners nod in approval.

WorkSTEPS, Inc. is the top provider of functional employment testing in the US. Its services include:

  • Functional employment testing
  • Return-to-work fit-for-duty
  • Post-employment fit-for-duty testing
  • Functional capacity evaluations (FCE)
  • Post-injury upper quadrant/carpal tunnel testing

With WorkSTEPS, Inc., the perennial concern of business owners, which is effectively matching a job with a worker’s strengths and skills for a workplace that is compliant with legal standards and medically safe, is finally given a solution. These are essential requirements whether you are just starting a business or already focusing on attaining your company’s goals and target profit as this will help keep employees satisfied and legal problems to a minimum.

An article on Young & Cotter, LLC’s website states that legal issues “often deprive a company of the organizational focus it needs in order to accomplish its most important goals.” This is precisely why WorkSTEPS, Inc. was conceived; through its functional employment testing employers can rest assured that the specific task required of employees are based on their skills and capabilities.

Reducing the Number of Car and Rollover Accidents through Various Programs and Technology

Reducing the Number of Car and Rollover Accidents through Various Programs and Technology

Sep 15

Helping maintain road safety for other motorists and pedestrians is the moral and legal obligation of all drivers all across the United States. This is why all US states make sure that those who apply for a driving license first undergo a driving education and driving test where they can learn all traffic rules and observe them. It is a surprise to know, therefore, why the yearly number of car accidents continues to remain above five million, leaving about two million severely injured and more than 30,000 dead (2012 record shows 34,080 fatalities).

Any failure on anyone’s part can spell road disaster that may result to a severe injury or death of any motorist or pedestrian. One person running a red light, not checking their mirror, or not looking at the road for a moment too long can easily cause a dramatic car accident, serious injuries, or even fatalities.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a division of the Department of Transportation which was established by the Highway Safety Act of 1970, is tasked with the mission to, “Save lives, prevent injuries, reduce vehicle-related crashes.” In promoting this campaign, it has launched different programs, like the Child Passenger Safety Week, the Drunk Driving National Enforcement Crackdown and fast receipt of Recall alerts through Apple devices.

Four of the top causes of car accidents, according to NHTSA, are drunk-driving, speeding, reckless driving and driver error. Though these are all drivers’ faults, there are still accidents that may be blamed on factors that lie outside the drivers’ control, such as road defects and poorly manufactured car/vehicle parts.

One type of accident that always results to a high turnout in fatalities is rollover accident. Any car can be subjected to this type of road mishap, though SUVs and vans are known to be more susceptible to it due to the vehicle’s center of gravity being farther or higher from the ground.

To make SUVs safe the static stability factor (SSF) and the electronic stability control system (ESC) which will give drivers greater control of the vehicle have been introduced by manufacturers. While the static stability factor (SSF) makes the vehicle more stable, the ESC keeps the driver from losing control of the vehicle (when it skids), by automatically applying a brake on each wheel.

Rollovers are considered more dangerous than other road accidents since these either result to severe injuries or death. RolloverLawyer.com, a website which is owned by the Willis Law Firm, states that the US registers about 10,000 deaths every year due to rollovers; in terms of injuries, victims can suffer from fractures, contusions, concussions, brain injuries or spinal injuries.

Though rollover accidents are frequently due to reckless lane changes and aggressive, high-speed driving, manufacturers still have a lot to answer for when these occur. The fact that SUVs have been made available on the market, consumers would naturally put their trust in the manufacturer and believe that they are constructed are safely.

In the event that a vehicle’s design is flawed or defective, its manufacturer can be held liable for any injuries that may arise as a result of the defect. Legally speaking, it would have to pay the victims all present and future damages they will suffer from these injuries. This can be quite costly, so automakers try to do everything within their power to build safe cars. However, occasionally problems slip through the cracks and defective designs that are prone to rolling over are released. If you’re hurt as a result of a badly designed car, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to help you recover the costs of your medical treatment and other damages.

A Nursing License: The Symbol of a Nurse’s Livelihood and Identity

A Nursing License: The Symbol of a Nurse’s Livelihood and Identity

Sep 13

A nursing license symbolizes a nurse’s identity and livelihood, thus, any possibility of it being revoked can be very alarming and stressful, as this can result in unemployment, even a devastated future. To be able to endure the experience of a lawsuit and the Nursing Board’s investigation and disciplinary acts, as well as to continue having a meaningful profession, it will be highly necessary to have the right support system and, most especially, a lawyer experienced in licensure defense.

Though nursing is a centuries-old profession, the first nursing laws (Nursing Practice Act) were only enacted in the US in1903. These laws are enforced by the federal government through each state’s regulatory agency, usually the state’s Nursing Board (there are about 61 Nursing Boards all across the US, as some states have separate boards for LPNs, RNs and advanced practice nurses). Some of the Board’s functions are:

  • To protect and promote the welfare of the people
  • Establish standards of the nursing practice
  • Regulate the practice of professional and vocational nursing and examine and license qualified applicants
  • Issue rules and regulations that will address the specifics in the nursing profession
  • Accredit schools of nursing
  • Interpret the Nursing Practice Act, the rules and regulations relating to nurse education and licensure
  • Accept complaints and investigate probable violations of the Nursing Practice Act and rules and regulations
  • Discipline violators through appropriate legal action.

It takes enormous love for the profession, patience and skills for one to obtain a nursing license, for besides successfully completing an accredited nursing program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (known as NCLEX), much more are required to be able to keep one’s license in good standing and enjoy a meaningful career; these include conformity with specific provisions of the state’s nursing laws, English proficiency, continuing clinical competence or continuous education, good moral character and absence of a criminal record.

Due to the vulnerability of the individuals placed under the care of nurses, the license-granting state wants to make sure that the licensee or nurse is not just qualified and competent, but ethical too. Thus, even the smallest infringement of any law or actions which, according to an article in Leichter Law Firm PC’s website, the hospital, a patient, an employer, a co-worker or even an angry spouse, may deem as unprofessional or unethical, can be reported to the board and the subject/nurse, if within the board’s jurisdiction, will be fully investigated.

Sadly, a nurse may be complained about so many different issues, from legal to personal (which have perfectly no connection to clinical practice), that would warrant nursing board investigations, disciplinary action, suspension from duty or, worse, revocation of license; issues which anyone may deem as implying potential threats to the public’s health, safety and welfare, like:

  • Failure to reregister a license
  • Practicing with an expired license
  • Dishonesty in the application process
  • Failure to notify the board of nursing of address or name changes within a required period
  • Failure to wear an identification badge with one’s status displayed
  • Failure to meet continuing education requirements can all lead to nursing board investigations and disciplinary action
  • Conduct that reflects questionable judgment, impairment, or lapses in moral character
  • Use of recreational or illegal drugs or driving under the influence, even if such would occur while on vacation or outside the state where the nurse practices
  • Attendance problems related to alcohol or drug use may also lead to license discipline
  • Failure to make timely payments for child or spousal support;
  • Failure to file taxes, repay student loans or pay creditors
  • Being accused of a criminal act, child or elder abuse in their own home or violation of a restraining order.

Complaints may be done by directly informing the nursing board through a phone call or a letter, or by filling out a complaint form in the nursing board’s website. And since every complaint is held confidential, even the nurse concerned may not be allowed to read the actual complaint or know who filed it; though he/she will be notified of the complaint and of the investigation that will be undertaken. Upon receipt of this notification, the nurse should immediately seek legal counsel and respond to any inquiry to be sent by the nursing board; failure to do so may result to a default judgment of disciplinary action or revocation of license.

During the hearing, which is usually composed of the administrative law judge (ALJ), a hearing panel made up of several nursing board members and a hearing officer, a court reporter is tasked to make a transcript based on the entire proceeding, which includes statements of the prosecutor, witnesses, experts and defense.

It may only be through the assistance of an experienced licensure defense lawyer that you can redeem yourself and retain your license. In fact, even when applying for initial licensure or renewal of license, it is highly advisable that you do it with legal advice.

Again, a nurse’s license symbolizes his/her livelihood and identity; surrendering or relinquishing it even at the face of clear revocation can change your life forever. Thus, when searching for a legal counsel, make sure he/she is second to none.

Understanding Your Customers – A Necessity in Choosing the Correct Factoring Program

Understanding Your Customers – A Necessity in Choosing the Correct Factoring Program

Sep 06

Trucking can be one promising business; however, even successful truckers would never want to spend 30 to 60 days waiting to be paid freight bills by shippers and brokers. Delay in payments will have negative effects in the trucking business’ cash flow and to the business, itself, in the long run. Worst, servicing brokers who cannot pay can lead to bankruptcy (at a faster rate).

The emergence of Truckers Bookkeeping Service (TBS) firms is a major benefit to trucking businesses, especially to those that are just starting and small ones. Besides taking these firms’ owners’ mind from the complex and time consuming applications that the state and the federal government require, red tape arrangements and volumes of paperwork and requirements mandated by various regulating agencies, TBS Factoring, most importantly, can also fuel a trucking business’ cash flow, allowing the owner to focus on running his/her business more effectively.

Such is made possible through the TBS accounts receivable financing program, which enables the trucking firm to acquire the cash it quickly needs to maintain business operations. Accounts receivable financing (also known as “Factoring”) is a form of asset-financing arrangement wherein a company makes use of its receivables (money to be paid by customers) as collateral in a financing deal.

The accounts receivable financing program is aimed at helping companies fuel any capital stuck in accounts receivables by transferring the failure-to-pay risk, connected with the accounts receivables, to the financing/factoring company. This is one perfect program which will allow the trucking firm to gain an influx of cash that will sustain it even through financial crises.

With financial concerns taken care of, owners and truck drivers can focus on helping one another run the firm smoothly and avoid getting involved in tragic truck and car collisions which, according to an article in Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®‘s website, will result to costly payment of compensation as this will have to cover the victim’s, “medical treatment, lengthy rehabilitation periods, lost income, and short- or long-term disabilities.”

Two TBS programs that business owners can choose from are:

Recourse Factoring – a program wherein the factoring company takes lesser risk since it can reclaim from you (after 60, 90 or 120 days – depending on the factoring agreement) whatever amount it paid you in advance even if the customer fails to pay.

Non-recourse Factoring – this program inflicts all loses on the factoring company (leaving your business financially safe and sound) since it will completely assume the risk of non-payment by your customers after it has bought from you your invoices or account receivables.

Recourse and non-recourse factoring programs have their own specific benefits and risks: while recourse factoring is more affordable since it comes with a lower transaction fee, you will still assume the loss (if the customer does not pay); the non-recourse factoring program, though, transfers the burden of loss to the factoring company, but it requires a much higher transaction fee. Evaluating your customer/s and the value of invoices well is important as this will enable you to choose which factoring program will benefit your situation best.