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Cape Girardeau Missouri Legal Blog

How will bankruptcy impact your financial plans?

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is one way for Missouri residents to get control over their finances. However, if people are not careful, the holiday season can overwhelm debtors once again. Understanding the limitations of a financial situation is very important to remain financially strong during the holidays.

First of all, Chapter 13 bankruptcy revolves around a debtor's disposable income. This means the debtor has disclosed all sources of income and bonuses to the court, including Social Security payments and interest on savings and investments. In addition to this, all expenses must also be disclosed. Disposable income is the money a person has left at the end of the month after covering all reasonable expenses. For many, this income could be used for buying gifts and planning trips during holidays, but for debtors, it means making court-ordered payments from that income for three to five years. But, does this mean that people need to give up celebrating for this time? Not necessarily.

Events that commonly lead to Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Many people who are dealing with high amounts of debt consider filing for bankruptcy. Those who do decide to file will do so under a specific bankruptcy Chapter, and the Chapter that will benefit them the most will depend on their circumstances.

Those who decide to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy are usually earning a low income or no income at all. This is because qualifying for Chapter 7 bankruptcy requires that you pass a means test to show that you have a limited income. In addition, those who decide to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy tend to have a limited amount of assets. This is because a high proportion of the debtor's assets will be liquidated. As a result, many high-asset individuals tend to be deterred by this.

The elements of a personal injury case

When holding someone accountable for causing a personal injury, there are certain legal principles that come into play and must be proven before someone can be held legally liable for their actions. "Negligence" is one such legal doctrine, allowing Missouri residents to hold someone accountable for careless behavior that caused injury.

A negligence case must prove certain elements. The plaintiff, who is the injured party, must prove four items in order to demonstrate negligence. The first element is a "duty." Duty refers to a legal duty of care owed by the defendant, who is the person or party accused of negligence, to the plaintiff. The relationship between the two parties can create a legal duty, or the situation can. For example, a doctor may owe a patient a duty of care, whereas a motorist owes a reasonable standard of care to others on the road.

Qualifying for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy

When Missouri residents realize that their expenses and debts are far outweighing their income and they no longer have the ability to make ends meet, they may find themselves considering filing for bankruptcy. Many people across the country choose this option as a way to get a fresh financial start and have debts discharged, depending on the category of bankruptcy they qualify for.

To qualify for debt forgiveness through Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the filer must pass the means test. A number of factors, such as a person's income, expenses and family size, are looked into to determine if the filer has enough income to pay debts back. There are two parts to the test. The first part looks at where the household income falls in comparison with the state's median income. While the test considers the last six months for this calculation, anyone with a change in income can present documentation to adjust the time period. If someone is below the median income, they have passed the means test and, in general, can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Can "gig" workers claim workers' compensation?

The workforce is shifting and Missouri residents are undoubtedly enjoying the flexibility that comes with setting one's own hours. Additionally, "gig" workers often bring in significantly higher income than the federal minimum wage, increasing its attractiveness. However, gig work brings with it concerns of workplace protection.

Companies often classify gig workers as independent contractors rather than employees. Doing this allows employers to distance themselves, financially and socially, from gig workers. For those who are not aware, independent contractors are not entitled to workers' compensation, overtime pay, sick leave or healthcare. As a result, the workplace protections so painstakingly added to the system are slowly being erased.

Truck damages highway in fiery crash

Auto accidents are devastating for everyone involved, including family members and loved ones who are not even in the vehicle at the time of the crash. A truck accident wreaks even more havoc, due to the sheer size and weight of the vehicle and the materials inside the truck. Motorists, pedestrians and motorcyclists have little protection in a crash involving a truck and many fatalities and personal injuries can result.

While many truck accidents are caused by truckers because of drowsy driving due to overwork or failing to yield, this is not always the case. Any vehicle can cause accidents and the reality is that regardless of the cause, the resulting crash can be disastrous. A recent truck accident in Missouri demonstrated just how true that is, as the truck caught fire and damaged the highway it was on.

Pedestrians are at risk when they go for a walk

Although drivers are aware that pedestrians may be nearby, there are many pedestrian accidents that take place each day. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration believes that, after completing an analysis of 2018 traffic data, the total number of pedestrian deaths will have increased by 4% over 2017's numbers. Based on 2017's data, one pedestrian is killed every 88 minutes, making up 16% of all traffic fatalities.

While there are many factors in pedestrian crashes, one of the most important to speak about is distraction. Distractions can take a driver's eyes off the road and make a pedestrian unaware of their surroundings. For both parties, the reality is that distractions increase the risk of a collision.

Workers' compensation basics

When leaving one's house in the morning to go to work, no one expects to become injured in a workplace accident. However, this is a stark reality many Missouri workers contend with on a daily basis, regardless of what type of work they are performing. While construction sites post their own hazards, even retail or bartending jobs are not free from creating injuries related to repetitive actions. When a worker is injured while performing tasks within the scope of their work, they may be eligible to receive workers' compensation.

Workers' compensation insurance is paid by the employer to cover injuries or illnesses sustained by an employee during the course of their work. One of the most important things to know about this system is that it is not based on fault. This means even if the worker was at fault, it would not preclude them from recovering compensation. But, once someone accepts workers compensation benefits, they must understand that they are giving up their right to sue their employer in the future.

Understand the difference between Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy

Missouri residents may be surprised to hear that around a million businesses and people file for bankruptcy every year. Federal bankruptcy law allows people to file twice in a lifetime to get some relief from their debt. However, there are certain qualifications that must be met in order to be eligible, and they differ depending on the type of bankruptcy one is filing for -- Chapter 7 or 13.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows filers to discharge the vast majority of their debts. Any entity or individual can file for it, if they meet the required thresholds. It may also absolve the filer of most of their debt, as lenders can collect a debt through the sale of nonexempt property. If there is no qualifying nonexempt property, lenders are not going to be able to collect. Due to this, Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows filers the opportunity for a fresh start. Though, filers must keep in mind that they will lose most of their nonexempt property, and there must be a low income in order to qualify.

Infotainment systems distracting older drivers more than younger

When thinking of distracted driving, many Missouri residents are quick to point the finger at teenagers and young drivers and their texting and driving habits as the cause of these motor vehicle accidents. What many do not realize is that, while using the cellphone while driving is dangerous, it is not the only form of distracted driving. In fact, it may come as a surprise that older drivers are distracted eight seconds more than their younger counterparts by in-car infotainment systems.

Large digital infotainment systems are common sights in cars these days. While one would think that systems are becoming easier to navigate and people are becoming more used to them in their cars, this is not the case.

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