>>Tiffany Bittner: Hello, good evening. We have the answers to your questions. We talk about bankruptcy, the difference between chapter 11 and chapter 13. What happens to your credit, what happens to your home or car? The number is 855-law-1955. Call right now. If you have been injured, you may want to sue, but should you. We talk about how personal injury claims work. If you own your home or are thinking of buying one, we talk about insurance. Tonight’s question comes from CJ. He says the apartment building where my girlfriend lives caught fire. I was injured. She has insurance. Will it cover me? Great question.
>> Kirby Farris: Great question, CJ. Thank you for sending that to us. Unfortunately, the insurance probably won’t cover it. It’s worth looking into, but it probably won’t cover personal injuries. There are codes that the apartment complex has to comply with. Even if it’s your girlfriend’s fault, it could be part of the complex.
>>Tiffany Bittner: For more information go to delivering justice.com or WBRC LawCall link. If you have been injured and want to sue, you may or may not have a claim. Ken Riley explains in tonight’s side bar.
>> Kirby Farris: You have been injured. How do you know if you have a personal injury claim? In the most basic terms, you must have suffered an injury to your person or property. Second, you should consider whether your injury was the result of someone else’s negligent. If you believe you have a claim, talk to an attorney about the situation. Most firms like ours will talk to you about your claim for free. The trial attorney will ensure you receive what’s necessary to take care of your medical bills, permanent disfigurement and other claims. I’m Kirby Farris.
>>Tiffany Bittner: Tonight we are talking about bankruptcy. A lot of folks, you may be watching at home, found yourself in a situation where you are on the fence and trying to decide if you are filing for bankruptcy. You need to know the ins and outs, benefits to it. Give us a call if you are watching. We would love to talk to you. We have a great attorney and familiar face to you. We have Kirby Farris with the Farris, Riley and Pitt Law Firm. He will answer your questions as well. Tell the folks at home who brought you on.
>> Kirby Farris: I’m excited about tonight’s questions. This guy has been a friend of mine for a long time. Ronald Reagan was the president and Duran Duran was the biggest band in the country when we were hanging out. He’s one of the best in the state. Outstanding, he’s helped so many people in the state of Alabama. We are excited to have Brad with us.
>> Brad Botes: Thank you for having me tonight. I’m excited to answer questions for your viewers tonight. It’s a thrill for me to be on the show. I have watched you for a number of years.
>> Tiffany Bittner: Brad, if you will tell our viewers about your practice 1234.
>> Brad Botes: We specialize in consumer bankruptcy work. We help people with money problems. People with money problems come from all sectors. There are those successful that have run into problems that have caused them to have more debt than they can deal with. We represent working people, people that make just enough each month and need a bit of help. People that come to see us are facing life changing type events, a foreclosure on their home, and repossession of their automobile. Facing a wage garnishment. We can help with those issues.
>>Tiffany Bittner: We talk with Tracy from Tuscaloosa tonight. I’m told it’s January, rather. Hey, there.
>> Brad Botes: Hey, Jan.
>> Caller (Jan): When my husband and I got married, we had surprise debt dumped on us from his previous marriage. We filed bankruptcy in 2006 and at that time we were told to take chapter seven and it would only be on our credit record seven years. It’s still on there. How long does it stay on your credit record?
>> Brad Botes: It can be reported on your credit report for ten years from when you filed. Ten years, not Sen. Monitor your court report and make sure it’s removed. You are looking at the date the bankruptcy was filed not the date it was discharged.
>>Tiffany Bittner: Let’s hear from Tracy in Tuscaloosa. Are you there?
>> Caller (Tracy): I am here. I’m in Duncanville. My husband and I were separated. He filed bankruptcy during the separation. His attorney said he didn’t have to notify me or involve anything of mine. We shared one account with the second mortgage on our home. My husband, when he filed the bankruptcy, all that was put in there, his pull td house out to have a heart loan done to save the house. We lost the house anyway. The company that does the second mortgage is bugging us now because of the bankruptcy and I wasn’t on it. I had seven credit cards that folded because they thought I filed bankruptcy, even though I didn’t.
>> Brad Botes: The fact that your husband filed chapter 7 bankruptcy means any debt he had was discharged. If it was a joint debt and you didn’t file chapter 7 bankruptcy, you owe the debt. It’s important that you consult with the bankruptcy attorney directly to get advice to protect your own interests. Normally the first mortgage company that will foreclose you still owe the money to the second mortgage company. I encourage you, give us a call if we can help you. You need to consult an attorney to protect your own interests.
>>Tiffany Bittner: Thank you for that. We have to take a break. If you are watching and you have a question, call us and we’ll talk to you. ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶
>> Fox 6, WBRC LawCall with Tiffany Bittner and from the law firm of Farris, Riley and Pitt, Kirby Farris, a proven advocate known for his courtroom skills. Personal injury attorney Ken Riley, practical, professional. And personal injury attorney Brett Turnbull with numerous recoveries over $1 million Bob Prince of Prince Glover and Hayes, plus guest attorneys from across Alabama. Your rights, your calls, live. ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶
>> Do you have homeowner insurance? You probably do if you have your own home but do you know what it covers? We have details in this week’s legal brief.
>> If you think you only need something to protect you against fire and storm, think again. That’s not homeowner’s insurance. It’s much broader than that. It will protect you if someone gets injured on your property. Suppose someone comes up to your front door but they fall on the front step. You knew it was loose. You should have fixed it. Your homeowner’s will cover it. Suppose your child hits a ball over the fence and breaks a window. You’re covered. The dog gets loose and bites the postman? You’re covered. In addition, homeowner’s covers medical expenses. If you don’t understand the terminology, call your attorney. He will explain it to you. That’s your legal brief. Back to you guys.
>>Tiffany Bittner: Bankruptcy is our topic tonight. We have Brian calling with a question.
>> Caller (Brian): Hello.
>> Hey there. How are you?
>> Caller (Brian): I had a customer go bankrupt on me. They granted him full bankruptcy, but the figures didn’t equal out to what I had turned in, it was less. Do I have a right to go for the rest of the money?
>> Brad Botes: I’m not sure I understand. If it was a full or chapter seven straight bankruptcy, in most cases there is not a distribution made to creditors. You are saying you received something from the bankruptcy trustee?
>> Caller (Brian): They owed me 120. They went bankrupt on 85.
>> Brad Botes: How long ago was this? Was this recently?
>> Caller (Brian): It was granted in 2015.
>> Brad Botes: Okay. You may want to contact the trustee and see if there is an opportunity for you to amend your claim. You must have filed a proof of claim which is how creditors are paid through the bankruptcy process. It may not be too late to amend your claim.
>>Tiffany Bittner: We hope that helps you, Brian. Thank you. Let’s hear from Darrell in Hueytown.
>> Hey, Darrell.
>> Caller (Darrell): Hello. How are you doing?
>> Hey, there.
>> Caller (Darrell): My question is, my wife and I are having to file bankruptcy. If you return a vehicle to the dealership, and it’s more than the legal three days, how would we go about doing it, and how would it affect the bankruptcy?
>> Brad Botes: I’m not sure exactly what you mean by more than three days, but if you are filing a bankruptcy and you return the vehicle to the dealership, you still have a balance owed on the vehicle, pursuant to the contract you signed. It’s important you let the bankruptcy lawyer know about the discharge and you can usually discharge that balance. As long as your attorney knows about it you should be able to discharge the debt.
>>Tiffany Bittner: We hope that helps. We have Katy on the line. Hey, Katy. You are on live.
>> Caller (Katy): Hey there.
>> Hey, Katy.
>> Caller (Katy): I was calling to ask a question. I went through a — five years ago, a 30 year divorce that we untangled a lot of financial things and in the process, my divorce attorney referred me to a bankruptcy attorney and said, would you be willing to file bankruptcy? I made a fourth of what my ex-husband made, and we had to settle the debt or not be granted the divorce. I took the bullet for our debt and I have been paying a huge sum of money for five years — almost five years. In November, this coming November, I’m going to get a discharge, be done with bankruptcy. My question is, I want to rebuild my credit. I have no debt at all right now except a mortgage that is not involved in the bankruptcy. It’s only got two more years left. What do I need to do? Am I doomed forever?
>> Brad Botes: No. You have hope here. Let me tell you. Getting that bankruptcy discharged is the first step in rebuilding your credit. You have a declaration, court order saying you are debt free other than the mortgage. If you have been paying the mortgage welshing you are building up good credit there. You will have the opportunity to incur debt again, but be careful. The discharge will show you owe no money. Then borrow money slowly. Borrow a small amount, open a credit card and pay that amount off every month. Be careful not to get into trouble again. It used to be very hard to rebuild credit after bankruptcy. It’s not so bad anymore. You will get all kinds of offers after your discharge. Bankruptcy attorneys, we don’t like repeat customers. I want you to get on with your life and rebuild. You can do it.
>>Tiffany Bittner: Let’s take a break. When we come back, we’ll speak with more of you. Bankruptcy’s the topic. If you have been watching tonight and would like to get in touch with the attorneys you have seen. Brad is with Bond and Botes. His office is here in Birmingham. If you would like to contact Bob Prince, you can call him or prince law.net. Kirby Farris is with the office of Farris, Riley and Pitt. Kirby, you help folks in a different way. Tell the folks because you are injury attorneys. Tell folks about your practice?
>> Kirby Farris: We do all personal injury. Automobile accidents, medical malpractice, a bit of wage an hour work in terms of overtime pay. We help them with that. Our practice overlaps with bankruptcy. When people get into difficult situations, personal injuries, they may not be able to work or pay their bills and that’s an alternative for them.
>>Tiffany Bittner: We are glad to have Brad on answering the questions. We are learning a lot. I understand the homestead personal property laws have changed some.
>> Brad Botes: They have. Although bankruptcy is a federal law, supposed to be the same in every state of the country, importantly, the amount of property you are able to claim exempt or keep filing bankruptcy is determined by the state you live in. Alabama has had small exemptions for a long time. This last year the personal property exemption was doubled in Alabama, $3,000 per individual to $7,500. That’s $15,000 for a married couple. The homestead exemption, amount of equity in your home, went from $5,000 to $15,000 or $30,000 for a married couple. Even if you have more property than that, we can protect it in a lot of cases by filing a bankruptcy restructure of your debt to pay back what you can afford. If you have been on the fence, not sure whether or not bankruptcy the something you can consider, you need to give us a call. Usually, you can keep everything you own.
>>Tiffany Bittner: We have Renee calling us in Birmingham:
>> Caller (Renee): I have a question about bankruptcy. My fiancé purchased a home, but later found out it’s an illegal sale. Should they keep him accountable since the sale was illegal in the first place?
>> Brad Botes: Are you saying something was wrong with the home? Is that what you are telling me?
>> Caller (Renee): Yes. There was a company that we went to that we purchased the home from that eels what they did, sell homes.
>> Brad Botes: Was the mortgage included in the bankruptcy when he filed it?
>> Caller (Renee): That’s what it was for, period.
>> Brad Botes: If he completed the bankruptcy, legal or illegal, he should have been able to discharge the debt in bankruptcy. Are you still in the home?
>> Caller (Renee): No, no, no. We went back to New York. He never completed the bankruptcy because they told him it was an illegal sale.
>> Brad Botes: So the bankruptcy was not completed. There was no discharge. Then you need an attorney to prove that the debt was illegal and not owed. Is the company actively trying to collect the debt from him at this point?
>> Caller (Renee): No. He hasn’t heard anything else. The issue is that it’s been time. We are trying to get things together to purchase a home once we get married. Now my question is, what will that do to him?
>> Brad Botes: The bankruptcy filing will be on his credit whether he finished it or not. It will be there ten years. He needs to pull his credit record and determine if the debt is lifted. If it’s being lifted and it was an improper or illegal debt, he can challenge that on his credit report. My website has a specific section on how to obtain credit reports, review it and challenge it if it’s inaccurate. You may be able to sue under the fair credit reporting act.
>>Tiffany Bittner: We are moving on to another caller. We’ll hear from Lisa. Go, Lisa.
>> Caller (Lisa): My question is, my husband and I purchased a house. We got to keep the house from being foreclosed on, he filed bankruptcy on the rear of the house. Since then, my husband has passed away. I’m not on — I tried to call the mortgage company. They won’t speak to me because I’m not on the loan. I’m on the deed to the house but not on the home.
>> Brad Botes: Are you living in the home?
>> Caller (Lisa): Yes.
>> Brad Botes: If you are living in the home and the mortgage is behind, you have a possessor right on the property and you should be able to file chapter 13 bankruptcy to catch up any arrears that exist. Give us a call. We’ll be glad to help you with that. Since you live there and your husband had the mortgage, you should be able to fix that in your own chapter 13 bankruptcy.
>>Tiffany Bittner: We are almost out of time on the show tonight. I know a lot of these callers appreciate you, Brad, for shedding light on the situation. They’ll call your office and tell you who to call.
>> Brad Botes: Thanks for having me. I’ll be happy to take your calls.
>>Tiffany Bittner: We’ll see you next Sunday night for another edition of LawCall at 10:30, here on Fox 6.