Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Leaving the Scene of an Accident

Leaving the Scene of an Accident

A motor vehicle accident is a difficult experience.  You may panic and become either nervous or frightened.  These natural reactions may lead you to make a poor decision.  If you left the scene of an accident, though understandable, you may be exposed to potentially serious consequences.
In Pennsylvania, leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal traffic violation that carries penalties that include:  prison time, costly fines and the suspension of your driver’s license.  You will need to hire an intelligent attorney to aggressively protect your rights.
Why Were You Ticketed for Leaving the Scene of an Accident?
In Pennsylvania, if you were the driver in an accident where there was damage to another vehicle or to property, then you must:
-          Stop you vehicle at the scene or as close to the scene as safely possible.
-          Provide the other driver or damaged property owner with your name, address, vehicle registration number, driver’s license, and proof of insurance
If you fail to do so and leave the scene of the accident, then you face a misdemeanor of the third degree.  If found guilty, you will be subject to up to one year prison time, expensive fines, and suspension of your driver’s license. 
In Pennsylvania, if you were the driver in an accident where another person involved in the accident was either injured or died, then you must:

-          Provide reasonable assistance to any person injured in the accident

-          Attempt to make arrangements for an injured party to get to a doctor or hospital.  This responsibility is triggered by either (1) obvious injury to the individual, or (2) by request of the injured person.
-          Call police immediately if no person involved in the accident is otherwise capable of doing so
If the driver of a vehicle is incapable of meeting these responsibilities, then the burden falls to the passengers to do so.

If you leave the scene of an accident and do not provide the assistance listed above then, depending on the circumstances, you can be can be charged with either a misdemeanor of the first degree or a felony of the third degree.  If found guilty, you may face years in prison, expensive fines, and suspension of your driver’s license.

In Pennsylvania, if you were the driver in an accident where you struck either an unattended vehicle or personal property, then you must:
-          Try to locate the owner of the property, and if unsuccessful…
-          Must leave a note providing your information near or attached to the property
-          Must contact the police to file an accident report
Failing to do so may result in a variety of penalties depending upon the circumstances.

Solutions if You are the Victim of a “Hit and Run”
Leaving the scene of an accident (aka Hit and Run) is a crime.  If you are in an accident and the other driver leaves the scene, then you may be entitled to relief:
-          Damages for medical bills
-          Property damage restitution
-          Lost wages restitution
-          Assigned Claims Plan:  this program provides up to $5,000 in medical coverage and $10,000 for property damage costs to the victims of a person leaving the scene of an accident where that individual is never identified.
Why Do I Need an Attorney?
If you are charged with leaving the scene of an accident, then you will need an attorney:
-          To raise all possible defenses and question the validity of the charge.
-          Help to minimize consequences through negotiation.
If you are the victim of another driver’s leaving the scene of an accident, then you will need an attorney:
-          To help you use any techniques available (police, investigator, etc) to locate the offender.
-          To help you recover meds, property damages, lost wages, etc from the offender.
-          To help you pursue coverage under the Assigned Claims Plan, if applicable.

Whether the offender or victim, you will need an attorney to help you in a leaving the scene of an accident case.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Filing Bankruptcy Advantages and Disadvantages

Filing Bankruptcy Advantages and Disadvantages

The Benefits of Bankruptcy
One of the benefits of both Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is the automatic stay from all collection activities during the bankruptcy process. The automatic stay will stop creditor harassment and prevent creditors from garnishing your wages, filing and foreclosing on liens, and seizing collateral or property such as your home and car.
If you file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, many of your debts will be discharged or eliminated. Examples of dischargeable debt include medical bills, credit card debt and unsecured loans. Some debts are non-dischargeable, which means they stay with you even after the bankruptcy.  Examples include student loans, recent tax arrears, domestic support obligations, wrongful death or injury judgments, and criminal penalties like fines or restitution orders. 
To qualify for Chapter 7, your income must be below the median for a household of your size in Pennsylvania or New Jersey.  Our attorneys will perform a thorough analysis of your assets.  In most cases, we are able to protect most or all assets.  We will make clear to you what we are able to protect, and what we are not able to protect.  Know your options before you file. 
Chapter 13 bankruptcy reorganizes your debts into a repayment plan of either three or five years. The monthly payments on your loans will be lowered, so you will be able to continue making payments. If you are hoping to keep more of your assets, such as your house, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is usually a good choice.  Chapter 13 cases can be significantly more complicated than Chapter 7.  The payment plan is for five years, and many things happen in five years.  You may change jobs, lose or gain income, or your family size may change.  That is why you need an attorney who is there for you for the entire time.  Don’t settle for a lawyer who takes the money upfront and doesn’t return your calls after that.

The Disadvantages of Filing for Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy should always be a last resort.  There are instances when bankruptcy may have disadvantages.  If individuals have not defaulted on their debts yet, they may still have a good credit rating.  Filing for bankruptcy may have a significantly negative impact of the creditworthiness of those individuals.  Chapter 7 filings stay on your credit report for up to ten years, and Chapter 13 filings for up to seven years.  After filing for bankruptcy, individuals may have trouble getting credit.  Credit card companies may not issue you a card.  You may not qualify for a car loan or mortgage for the first few years. 
If you have cosigners for any of your loans, upon filing for bankruptcy, the credit worthiness of those cosigners may be affected.  Even though they did not file for bankruptcy, the loans they cosigned that you listed on your petition may appear listed as subject to bankruptcy on their credit report.  That is why filing for bankruptcy should not be a decision made lightly.  You must consult with a qualified bankruptcy attorney who can assess your particular case and advise you of the consequences. 
We also have credit repair specialists on standby who can minimize these negative consequences and help you with your fresh start.  Post-bankruptcy credit management is critical to getting you back on your feet.  If you make the right moves, you can be back to a good credit score in a few years, not a few decades.  To make an appointment with our Trenton, New Jersey, Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys, please call one of our offices or contact us online. Your consultation is free.