Billings, MT Lawyer Blog

Bankruptcy Help

Bankruptcy Help – 5 Things You Can Do After Bankruptcy

One of the issues that people considering bankruptcy often worry about is that they will never get credit after filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. That, or the fact that the bankruptcy will stay in their credit report for 10 years from the filing, which fact would serve as warning to future creditors that you might turn out to be a bad risk. But neither is true, however.

While a bankruptcy will indeed stay in your credit report for ten years, it does not necessarily mean that you can no longer get new credit.

Furthermore, only a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy will stay in your credit report within 10 years. If you filed under Chapter 13, the period is shorter – about five to seven years. Worst case scenario: You can get a new loan but with high interest rates or fees.

Now, that’s not so bad, is it?

Especially after considering that even people with good credit can get bad loan deals. The fact remains that no matter how bad or good your credit line, it is not a guarantee that you are going to get approved for a loan or get low interest rates. In other words, a bankruptcy may damage your credit but only to an extent. It does not necessarily mean that you will never qualify for a new credit. What damage there is, you can always rebuild. And that is what you should be focusing on, instead of wallowing in the pits of Credit Doom.

#1 CAN DO: Keep a Credit Card out of the Bankruptcy

When filing for bankruptcy, the rule is that you have to make a schedule. A schedule is a list of all assets and liabilities that you are required under the law to disclose before a bankruptcy case could commence. If you owe money on a credit card at the time you file for bankruptcy, you have to include that in the schedule. Otherwise, you may be sued for perjury and penalized under federal law. What’s worse, if you fail to disclose unpaid credits like this, you may be denied discharge of all your debts.

The rule, however, only applies to unpaid credits. So if you do not owe any money on your credit card, then you can go ahead and keep that one out of the bankruptcy. You are not obliged to inform the credit card company of the Bankruptcy case. Note, however, that your credit card company may still find out about it through other means and cancel your card as a precaution. If your credit card company gives you notice of cancellation of your credit card, don’t give up yet.

Many credit card companies allow their credit card holders who are filing for bankruptcy to keep their credit card on condition that they agree to reaffirm the balance on the card and enter into a new agreement. Try to re-negotiate the terms with your credit card company and see if you can settle for a situation that is beneficial for both you and the company.

While the decision is up to the creditors, keep in mind that what they want is to avoid the loss incurred when the debt is discharged and to have your future business.

#2 Get New Credit after Bankruptcy

If there is one thing you can count on in today’s competitive lending environment, it is that credit is always available, even to the recently bankrupt. The catch? Credit may be more expensive than before and available with lower limits. But all that is secondary only to the fact that credit does exist and you can get it. One of the easiest credits available to the recently bankrupt is a secured credit card. As opposed to an unsecured credit card, in a secured card, you must make a deposit of a certain amount of money in exchange for a card that you can use just like a regular credit card. Your credit limit is equivalent to the cash deposit you made. Now, the good thing about a secured credit card is that it is usually available post bankruptcy at lower rates than unsecured cards.

What’s more, the fact that these credit cards are secured are not often indicated in your credit report so creditors have no way of knowing whether your credit card is secured or not. All they will see is that you have been approved for a credit card, which ups your credit score a bit and puts you back in the game fairly quickly. Note, however, that credit experts are not quite in agreement concerning the impact of secured credit cards on your credit rating.

So if you do decide to open a secured credit card post bankruptcy, be sure to do it slow.? While your rush at rebuilding your credit is understandable, making mistakes that could significantly affect your credit score like this is not worth it.

Rebuilding your credit worthiness after bankruptcy is a matter of getting a toe-hold in the world of credit. The balance is often precarious and needs delicate treatment. Use credit cautiously and pay on time.

#3 Buy a House after Bankruptcy

Absolutely. In fact, there are many studies that show bankruptcy debtors can qualify for a home loan on the same terms as if they had not filed bankruptcy within 18 to 24 months after a bankruptcy discharge. You see, what the creditors are concerned here is not your past financial troubles but your current financial status – e.g., your down payment, the stability of your income and the relationship between the loan payments and your monthly income.

That said, take note of the following things that you might want to do in preparation for your first house purchase post Bankruptcy:

• When purchasing a home after bankruptcy, the key is the discharge date, since there is usually a waiting period. If your loan was an FHA loan, you usually have a 2-year waiting period for that. For other conventional loans, the waiting period is four years. Now, during the waiting period, you need to do two things: re-establish at least 4 lines of credit (auto loans or credit cards, for example) and maintain an excellent payment history.

• Make sure that there aren’t any delinquencies on your credit report that should have been cleared off with the bankruptcy. If you find any, contact your creditors immediately. Include a copy of your “Schedule of Creditors” in your letter so that your creditors can indicate the debt was included in the bankruptcy and update your credit report.

• The more money you have in your savings or checking account, the better and stronger your file is going to look to a lender when you apply for a home loan. Remember that your ability to make a down payment bears great significance in your approval rating. If you have money in your savings account, your creditors will naturally conclude that you have the money to make a down payment.

#4 Get New Wheels after Bankruptcy

A common misconception people have after a bankruptcy is that getting new credit like a car loan is virtually impossible. Well, note that the word used is “virtually.” That is not the same as saying that you are certainly never going to qualify for a new car loan. Because the truth is you can and you should, if you need to.

If you can get a house after bankruptcy, then there is all the more reason for you to be able to get a car. In fact, you can even start going through some dealerships as soon as your discharge papers are in. Just remember that the interest rates are not going to be cheap. Here are some tips to help you deal with that one tiny tangle:

• Check with the Special Financing Department
Most car dealerships have this special financing department that handles would-be car purchasers who are going through some financial trouble. Since these buyers would not be able to qualify for a conventional auto loan, some dealerships are willing to offer you a different deal to help you get that car you want and at the same time overcome the hurdle of credit after bankruptcy.

• Credit Unions
If you are a member of the credit union at your workplace, contact them and see if you can get a car loan through them. Often, credit unions offer lower interest rates than banks, which in addition to charging you higher interest rates, may also require you to deposit your paycheck directly with them. If your workplace does not have a credit union, your neighborhood may have one. Some are available to people based on organization or church affiliation, or even residence in a certain community.

• Charities
Not many people are aware of this but charities are actually a good place to look for inexpensive cars. You may have heard of charities that ask you to donate your working or non-working cars to them. In order to raise money, they repair these cars and sell them for a price that is significantly lower. Try those charities found in your neighborhood and see if they sell cars that are more along your price range.

#5 Have a 700+ Credit Score Two Years after Discharge

You might find this statement suspect, which is understandable really when you consider the many stories of how one bankruptcy can thoroughly damage the credit rating you’ve been building up for years. Expert after expert has said that new credit is near impossible to get after filing for a bankruptcy.

However, in almost the same breath, the experts likewise say that it is not impossible to rebuild your credit worthiness after bankruptcy. And this is bolstered by the fact that you had good reason for the bankruptcy, such as unemployment, medical, business failure, etc, and that you immediately took steps re-establishing credit after receiving the discharge.

So why then, despite complying with these two requirements, your credit score remains way below average? The answer lies in your credit report. Your credit report contains everything about your finances. All of the information contained in your credit report, when added up, result in your three-digit credit score. Hence, any errors in your credit report, such as a fraudulent credit line or a debt that remains even though it was supposed to be discharged after bankruptcy, can adversely affect your credit score.

Common sense tells you that if you correct these errors and mistakes, you can improve your credit score. Also, some creditors make various inquiries into your credit report. This act could lower your credit score. What’s more, after a discharge, they are allowed to make only one inquiry into your credit report. After that, you are entitled to ask for $1,000 every time they look into your credit report.

Make certain that your creditors are not making any more inquiries into your credit report. Write them a letter explaining that the debt has already been discharged. Include a copy of the discharge order as well as a copy of the ‘Schedule of Creditors’ from your bankruptcy papers as proof that the debts have already been discharged.

Be sure to check out our legal blog for more legal tips.

Personal Injury Tips

Compensation Claims Related to Personal Injury

Here is a brief summary of how to research and pursue compensation claims related to personal injury.

If you have recently suffered a personal injury from an accident due to the other party’s negligence, you must act quickly to record important data from the scene that will help you pursue compensation claims later on.

It will help significantly if you know enough about your rights and how you must act in these situations. To prepare yourself for the worst and understand what can happen from related incidents,  educate yourself as much as possible on personal injury.

Find and read books related to personal injury cases of the past.

You need to know what should be done if you find yourself caught in certain situations where may eventually settle for claims and file for charges in your case. Look for books that are relative to cases written by both lawyers as well as individuals involved.  Here are a few different recommended books:

You can also try to browse through related websites on the internet.

You will be surprised with how many personal injury information sites are available on the internet, with article written by attorneys as well as high end law resources. As an example, the website HG.org is a great resource for all legal questions.  You can find their information on Personal Injury here.

Another suggestion is to find related forums online where there will be other people who have already put in the research time.  POse the question in groups of “where can I find the most valuable information for my personal injury case.”  These forums are usually being visited by people who are interested with the subject, people who have undergone related experiences and those who know a lot about the legalities of the situation.

 

Need A Personal Injury Lawyer in Billings MT?

I have been providing practical legal advice and representation to individuals, families and businesses since 1998. As a solo practitioner committed to excellent client service, I work directly with every one of my clients. As your lawyer, I will personally handle all aspects of your legal matter and make sure your interests are protected.

 

Compensation Claims

If you are involved in an accident, you will need to keep these things in mind:

1. You need to remember vital details like the date and time when the accident happened. You have to be able to relay to the legal officers and lawyers what happened before, during and after the scene and all that transpired. Jot down notes so that you won’t forget any important details. If you are not capable of writing because of the injury that you are suffering from, ask someone on the scene to help you.

2. You should get all of the evidence that you can at the scene without tampering. Using your cell phone camera, take many pictures at the scene. Especially if any type of personal trauma is involved, take as many photos as possible to be sure that you may catch details you didn’t really think about.

3. Talk to a professional that deals with personal injury regarding the matter and ask for legal advice as to what should be done after. Submit to your attorney the evidence that you have collected.

These are just a few tips that can help you learn more about what to look for in a situation where personal injury may be an issue.  Of course, it is always best to contact your lawyer for more information based on your specific situation.

Personal Injury Attorney Billings MT

Important Things to Take Note of with Regards to Personal Injury

Even if you are the kind of person who prefers to settle things amicably than go to courts, this doesn’t mean that you should be ignorant about your rights, especially when it comes to personal injury claims.

If a personal injury situation ever happens to you, you will realize how troubling it can be, especially after you are already faced with the negative effects of what had transpired.

No matter how you want to forget about what happened, there are many reasons why you simply cannot do that.

The consequences of any injuries may vary from simple to drastic. If you’ve had some bruises but you don’t think that the pain will affect your daily life much, then you can basically just learn to forgive and forget or settle things fast between you and the other party, outside of a court of law. But you can never be certain as to what will happen once you have encountered such mishap, so it is always best to be armed for the battle by knowing what to do at these personal injury instances.

To help you broaden your knowledge about the matter, we provided some basic tips and things to consider.

You may want to check out printed books on personal injury issues, either previous cases r simple “what to expect” books.

Choose the kinds of books that were written for regular people who do not know much about the legalities. You can also look for related websites like AllLaw.com, that can help you learn more about the topic. Look for personal blogs and learn from people’s experiences. You will also find professionals’ sites that offer their services and also give you a good idea of what you will be going through once you have filed claims for the injury that you received.

 

Need A Personal Injury Lawyer in Billings MT?

I have been providing practical legal advice and representation to individuals, families and businesses since 1998. As a solo practitioner committed to excellent client service, I work directly with every one of my clients. As your lawyer, I will personally handle all aspects of your legal matter and make sure your interests are protected.

 

What You Must Know About

If you don’t have much time to do much initial research on personal injury, here are some quick things that you must remember.

Attorney Billings MT1. You must bear in mind that if you are not at fault, you can always pursue a compensation claim. Some people may just want to forget about it, especially if the damage is under control or the party is willing to settle right away, outside of court. If the injuries caused by the accident are unbearable and you think that these will create more problems for you in the near or long term future, make sure you have thought about all of the repercussions of long term injury before just “forgetting it ever happened”.

2. Take photos of every angle of the elements involved in the accident. Most people are always equipped with their cell phones that have built-in cameras. Use that camera to capture all of the evidence that you can get from the scene of the accident. If you cannot do it because of your injuries, ask someone else to do it for you.

3. You must also record everything that will be asked from you when you pursue a case against the other party. You can try to remember things like the time, date, weather condition, where it happened and how it happened. Just make sure that you write all the details once you are already equipped to do so.  Even better, record audio on your phone right after the accident stating all of the details you may not remember later.

To make sure that the case is strong for your personal injury claims, you should ask for additional legal advice about the matter. Lawyer consultation fees are usually free, as long as you will be able to find the right person who will accept and handle your case.

 

I have protected the rights of individuals throughout the Billings, MT area since 1998. I understand that every legal situation is different and will take the time to learn the specific circumstances of your case, as well as your goals so that I can tailor my representation accordingly. I work hard to earn your trust, offering an environment where you can discuss the really important issues and know that you are being heard.  Get in touch with me today for a Free Case Evaluation.

Personal Injury Law

How Does Personal Injury Differ From Other Law Practice?

Personal injury (PI) practice differs from other law practice mainly because of financial requirements. In this kind of law practice, a lawyer have to spend his or her time and money getting the case ready for settlement or trial; then gets paid in a year or two, if the lawyer wins the case.

Lawyers don’t necessarily get paid for all the time that they spend in the cases and have to do a lot of work. A PI lawyer usually needs to hire doctors, engineers, accident reconstruction experts, and other professionals needed to analyze critical issues and testify in court. If a lawyer happens to handle many cases, he would have a hard time managing these people and get them paid on time. Thus, a personal injury lawyer needs to generate money to have the capability of handling cases.

Given the financial and personal risks involved, you must examine yourself if you can really tolerate such difficult situations before embarking on personal injury practice career.

Obtaining a favorable verdict at trial is harder for personal injury cases. Many states are implementing tort reforms legislation that places upper limits on the amount of claims of an injured person. Also, a lot of insurance companies and corporate defendants are less motivated to settle before trial.

This means that you are most likely to go through the process of filing a lawsuit which entails expenses on filing fees, depositions, expert witnesses and other court costs for the lawyer and long wait for the court decision for the client. Sad to say, because of the long process, many clients end up settling for a fraction of what the case is really worth.

Need A Personal Injury Lawyer in Billings MT?

I have been providing practical legal advice and representation to individuals, families and businesses since 1998. As a solo practitioner committed to excellent client service, I work directly with every one of my clients. As your lawyer, I will personally handle all aspects of your legal matter and make sure your interests are protected.

The public’s attitude towards personal injury cases is quite discouraging to law practitioners but the rewards of winning a case are enormous. Oftentimes, we heard news on insurance fraud, scams, and conspiracies involving personal injury lawyers, doctors, and their clients. But on the bright side of things, nowhere in the practice of law is there more of a David versus Goliath scenario than a person on a court battle with gigantic insurance company or corporation. PI lawyers come in different personality types, interests, aptitudes, strengths and weaknesses but practicing this profession can give you an opportunity to help other people who are wronged and truly in need. There is no better feeling in the world than having put up with all that abuse from the other side and having his or her cause validated by a jury.

With this, you gain a measure of confidence and assurance that will motivate you to stay in the game for a longer time. If you can manage your practice wisely, then you will be able to experience moments of triumph constantly.

It is quite possible to be successful personal injury lawyer without handling high-risk cases. You can opt for handling routine cases that requires you to go to court once or twice a year. You can also consider working first with a lawyer or firm that handles personal injury cases before going out on your own. When you have decided to go on your own, always remember to keep the following solid foundation to achieve success in the law practice:

Commitment – You must always work hard to make your practice succeed.

Management – You must always manage wisely your time, money and people.

Adequate capital – Since personal injury law practice requires you to risk finances, you might need to gamble your own money first before reaping monetary gains. In this practice, you cannot expect to get rich but you can try investing your wealth in other ventures not connected to the practice of the law if you want to have other income.

You must have the sincere desire to do the right thing for your clients.

I have protected the rights of individuals throughout the Billings, MT area since 1998. I understand that every legal situation is different and will take the time to learn the specific circumstances of your case, as well as your goals so that I can tailor my representation accordingly. I work hard to earn your trust, offering an environment where you can discuss the really important issues and know that you are being heard.  Get in touch with me today for a Free Case Evaluation.

injury attorney

Injury Attorney Won’t Take Case: Here’s Why

Sometimes when a person who has had a personal injury contacts an attorney, the attorney ends up not taking the case.

Many times people might think that they have a valid case, but cannot find an attorney to accept it. There can be a myriad of reasons why an attorney might not take your injury case, and we will look at some of the main reasons for that.

First of all, the way the accident occurred makes a big difference. One of the first things that an attorney will take into account is how the accident actually took place. Because there must be a party to hold financially accountable, there has to be a breach of legal duty that caused the injury.

It may not be enough that an accident happen at a certain place, on someone’s property, etc. The severity of the injury may not even matter. Various states have different laws, and in some states, for example, school districts and government entities are exempt from personal injury claims.

It is up to each individual attorney to look at a case and judge the whether there was legal responsibility and to also gauge the likelihood that a settlement will be reached. If those two things are questionable, it is very unlikely that an attorney will accept the case.

Another reason why an attorney may choose not to accept a case is simply because the injury in question is not very serious. For example, just the fact that a person ‘could have been killed’ is generally not enough to warrant an attorney taking a case.

Personal injury attorneys have to prove damages in order to get compensation and the fact that a person ‘could’ have been damaged or lost their life does not qualify. Speculation is not part of personal injury lawsuits. How bad the injury truly was is usually the most important factor. Further more, even if you sustained injuries, if the injuries were fairly minor, then there may not exist the possibility for much, if any monetary compensation.

Need A Personal Injury Lawyer in Billings MT?

I have been providing practical legal advice and representation to individuals, families and businesses since 1998. As a solo practitioner committed to excellent client service, I work directly with every one of my clients. As your lawyer, I will personally handle all aspects of your legal matter and make sure your interests are protected.

This makes the case not worth the time and trouble for the attorney, and probably not worth the time and trouble for the client either. This is many times because the cost of developing the testimony to prove your injuries needs to be factored in and it can be extensive and expensive. There has to be a reasonable amount of monetary compensation at the end of the road to make it worthwhile for all parties involved.

Speaking of monetary compensation, the economic reality of the situation must be taken into account. Many attorneys will accept cases on a contingency basis. This means that they have to take a wide variety of factors into account, which includes the amount of time that the attorney and their staff will have to spend on the case.

personal injury attorney
personal injury

Sometimes the out of pocket expenses to develop the case and take it to trial, simply exceed the expected fee that may be the outcome of the case. While there may be an injury involved, and there may be financial compensation to go along with it, it may not be enough to make economical sense for the attorney to handle the case.

Strictly speaking, Defense attorneys require an hourly rate and most of the time a client must pay upfront most, if not all, of the fees associated with the case. In order for an attorney to take a case on a contingency basis, the eventual fees must be much higher than the fees that they would normally get by defending a client.

In other words,

“the more time and effort the attorney is willing to risk for a client on a contingency basis, the greater the reward needs to be.”

Sometimes that reward just does not exist in certain cases.

Another reason an attorney might turn down a case is because the potential client indicates that they have spoken to a large amount of lawyers. Of course it is important that a person selects the correct attorney for their individual needs and their individual case. However, many cases are turned down because the potential client seems to be hunting for an attorney based on the value of the case. The problem exists in these instances because it is virtually impossible for an attorney to give a client a value before they have delved into all the facts of the case.

This can include many facets, not the least of which is the insurance coverage involved in a given case. Because of this, victims should be wary of attorneys that promise a certain level of compensation after the first consultation. There is no way to no anywhere close to 100% of the facts after one consultation and a financial evaluation cannot really be accurately made at that time.

Another factor might be if a person has been dropped or ‘released’ by another firm. This will almost always cause an attorney to think twice about taking on your case. This could be the result of a liability perspective or just an unreasonable expectation perspective.

It is safe to say if you have been dropped by another attorney or firm, it will be harder to get someone new to take up your cause, especially on a contingency basis.

For a free consultation of your situation, get in touch with Mark Hilario today.

Personal Injury Lawyer

Personal Injury Lawyer: When is the Right Time to Hire?

Obviously there is no ‘correct’ time for a person to hire a personal injury lawyer, but if you are reading this article then you probably have a situation that has compelled you to think about when is the right time to hire one.

Perhaps you have been in an automobile accident or suffered an injury in the workplace, but no matter the cause, if you have a personal injury you probably don’t want to be without counsel during any part of the process, which can many times be quite lengthy.

Personal Injury
Personal Injury

Your personal injury lawyer will be vital in the conversations that are inevitably going to take place with the insurance company(s) that are involved in your case. Your attorney will do things such as making sure your medical bills are paid up to date and also that property damage is taken care of in instances such as an auto accident so that you can get your vehicle back on the road or make sure that you have a rental to use in the meantime.

If you are in a car accident, the best time to find a personal injury lawyer is immediately following the accident and/or when you leave the hospital or emergency room.

Time can also be of the essence if you have an issue such as a medical malpractice claim. Many states have statutes that require you to notify the doctor involved within a specific time frame if you believe you are the victim of medical malpractice.

These types of cases take a lot of time and require a lot of work on the part of your attorney. You are best off to give them as much time as possible to prepare and handle your case.

Keep in mind, the insurance companies have plenty of time, resources, and experts on their side of the equation. You need to make sure that you have your own experts in the form of your lawyer and legal team, when it comes to representing you in your personal injury case.

The other party, be it a private citizen, a business, or a doctor, will be representing their best interests, not yours. Rather than try and take on the task by yourself, get a lawyer to handle your side of the case so that you avoid situations that you don’t have the expertise to handle. Remember, no one in these situations cares about your best interests as much as you do. Do all you can to make sure you are properly represented.

Along with having the proper legal team to represent you, you will want to have the correct medical team as well. Your personal injury lawyer will be familiar with the laws in your state and can contact the right medical experts to not only examine and prescribe treatment for you, but also be available to serve as witnesses should the case end up going to trial.

You will need these doctors to provide proper treatment, of course, but it is also important that they have the ability to testify about the long term effects your injury may have on you and your family.

Need A Personal Injury Lawyer in Billings MT?

I have been providing practical legal advice and representation to individuals, families and businesses since 1998. As a solo practitioner committed to excellent client service, I work directly with every one of my clients. As your lawyer, I will personally handle all aspects of your legal matter and make sure your interests are protected.

Some personal injury law firms will have medical personnel on staff and they are capable of evaluating your case on the spot. They can also take a look at any medial records that exist from before and after the injury and serve as a go-between between you and the other physicians involved. These on staff medical teams will make sure that you receive proper care during the process and that your best interests are always at the forefront.

Along with a medical staff, many personal injury lawyers will also have an investigative team on staff as well. Investigators may perform such tasks as recreating your accident or injury scene in order to obtain information to be used in a trial. In general, they will attempt to arm your attorneys with as much information as possible, so that moving forward they can obtain the best possible settlement for you as you pursue your claim.

The more people you have on your end, the better off you will be.

As you are trying to determine if you actually need a personal injury lawyer, keep in mind that even small events or accidents can result in injuries to your person that may affect you long-term.

Personal Injury Car Accident
Personal Injury Car Accident

Even a low speed car accident can result in injuries to your spine, back, and neck. If there is any question at all as to the extent of your injury, don’t hesitate to involve a personal injury lawyer. In most cases there is no charge for an initial consultation and generally there is no risk to you if they take on your case and do not recover any money.

So overall, you have nothing to lose if you have been involved in any type of accident, by reaching out to a personal injury lawyer and at least finding out how you should proceed.

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