LAWCALL March 12, 2017 | Bankruptcy
>> THE COURT: This is Fox6^ LAWCALL.
>> HELLO and welcome to “Lawcall.” We have the answers to your legal questions. Here is what we have coming up tonight. In the caller segment, we will be talking about bankruptcy. What is the difference between Chapter~7 and Chapter 13? Does bankruptcy work differently for businesses? And can you lose your house and your car? Give us a call tonight with your questions. Our phone number is 855-LAW-1955.
>> Plus you probably heard the phrase “injured through no fault of your own?” You may have heard it at least a few times, right? We will explain exactly what that means.
>> Plus we will talk about what you should not do if you have been injured. We have a full show tonight. Glad to have you with us. First, we have personal injury attorney Ken Riley. He is here to look at one of your e-mail questions. Tonight’s question comes from a man named Jack. And Jack writes in saying, “I walked through a glass door in a new office building while delivering a parcel. The glass was so clean and clear and new I didn’t realize it was there until it was too late and I had to have a lot of stitches. I know I walked through the glass, but I feel like it was a hazard.” So what do you say, Ken?
>> Tough case. Tough case. That’s an unfortunate situation. The glass was clean. I suppose it should have been clean. You do nowadays see — and we have some of this in our office, some of the markers about eye level so folks won’t walk through pane glass. But there hasn’t been any litigation that has been moving about the country in those types of situations. You know you always have — you always have heard of a friend, maybe you have ton it before, walked into that glass window or sliding glad door; so I would have to tell Jack, unfortunately, he probably doesn’t have a case. Fortunately, he wasn’t hurt any worse than he was because, unfortunately, when something like this happens you can be very badly injured. That’s not to say if there was a really bad injury it wouldn’t be something you can look into. But in this particular situation, probably not. And primarily based on the extent of the injury.
>> All right. If you need more information go to Ken’s Web site, deliveringjustice.com or MyFoxAL.com and go to the “Lawcall” tab. Getting injured doesn’t entitle you to summit of a judgment. Personal injury Kirby Farris explains how you were injured and why it affects of validly of your claim.
>> What is “contributory negligence” and how does it apply to claims? Contributory negligence does not allow an accident victim to recover if he or she does anything to contribute to the cause of an accident. If a speeder runs a red light and hits a pedestrian, seems like a clear case of liability. If it turns out that the pedestrian was not using the crosswalk, the the Court may rule that there are no damages because both parties are at fault. Even if the degree of fault doesn’t seem residual equal; there a chance that you were partially to blame for your injure? Here is your sidebar advise. Contributory negligence creates real challenges for Alabama personal injury lawyers. If you are involved in an accident, talk to an experienced personal injury attorney who can evaluate your situation and determine if you bare any responsibility under Alabama law. If you have a question, send it along to LawcallTD.com. I’m personal injury attorney Kirby Farris of Farris, Riley & Pitt.
>> Welcome to “Lawcall.” The show is live, and we ask you to be a part of it. If you’re watching and full a question pick up the phone and call us. The number is on the bottom part of your screen. 855-LAW-1955. Each week we try to focus on a specific topic to narrow things down for the viewers and help you at home and tonight we’re focusing on bankruptcy. So maybe you have found yourself or maybe you have been without a job or maybe you have been injured and can’t go back and work and you’re trying to figure out if you can file for bankruptcy, what lit do to you. Give us a call. We have Ken Riley with the law firm of Farris, Riley & Pitt and he is going to introduce our guest to us.
>> Steve Jones has been on our show a number of times and has been practicing in the bankruptcy arena for 20 plus years.
>> I’m 40, so —
>> I said 20 plus years. So you have seen just about everything when it comes to bankruptcy so thank you for coming on the show again tonight. Would you talk to us the viewers a little bit about your practice and what you do day in and day out?
>> Well, people in and if their lost their job or they have been out of work for a while. That has happened a lot with U.S. Steel and other big companies. You know, one of the spouses has been out of work for a while and either they don’t beat the job back or do and then the credit cards they have been paying on 7 or 8% are now 28%, and they’re behind on house and car, and they don’t know what to do. They want to just continue to live the life they have been living. And a debtor’s court petition or bankruptcy petition allows you to do that.
>> We have a caller lined up. Barbara in leads. Hello?
>> Caller: Hi. My problem. I had a car accident October so I was already in debtor’s court. And I am still paying of for my car. My car was totaled. How long do I have to keep paying this car note without a car?
>> Fair question?
>> That is a fair question. I can answer it to some degree. You probably have a attorney that represents you in the debtor’s court petition. You really need to call them in the morning. But just to generalize it, you need to call them to get out of paying for that car. They can change things around and restructure it to lower your payment’s lot. In fact the judge, if your attorney files the proper motions your judge can probably allow you to purchase another car since you don’t have I’m not going to drive right now.
>> Steve, she didn’t say if she was injured or not but talk for just a moment about.importance of making sure that if there is a personal injury claim, if you’re injured in an auto accident the importance of telling the bankruptcy circuit court making sure that is claimed as an asset to the the state.
>> Happens all the time. If you don’t tell your bankruptcy lawyer and personal injury lawyer you can have problems getting recovery. So the personal injury lawyer will have to inform the bankruptcy lawyer or fit happens in reverse the other way around so something could be filed in Bankruptcy Court to make sure that that can be addressed in the bankruptcy case and you can be taken care of by both attorneys.
>> And you can lose your Claim for even personal injury through Bankruptcy Court correct.
>> Sure can. It can mess everything up for you.
>> All right. We’re going to continue our conversation after the break. When we come back we’re going to ask them to describe a little bit about the difference in a Chapter~7 and chapter 13. So stay with us. ***BREAK***
>> Have you been injured due to someone else’s negligence? In tonight’s legal brief Tuscaloosa attorney Bob Prince details some important guidelines following an accident.
>> We have talked a lot an “Lawcall” about what you need to do if you’re injured. For instance immediately seek medical attention. Two, keep notes of that accident and the progress of your injury. But what about what you should “not” do? That can be important also. First, watch what you say at the wreck scene. That statement of “I think I’m not hurt that bad” can come back and haunt you later. Second, don’t make a statement to the other person’s insurance adjuster. They’re not on your side and none of the conversations are off the record like they say they R and third, never negotiate your personal injury case without talking to a personal injury lawyer.
>> And for goodness sake, don’t sign a release without talking to a lawyer. One wrong move at a critical time can deny you what you’re entitled to from the other party. I’m Tuscaloosa attorney Bob Prince. Back to you guys.
>> Welcome back to “lawcall” and we are talking about bankruptcy tonight. I wanted you to, if you will, explain a little bit about the difference in a Chapter~7 and Chapter 13.
>> They’re both referred to as bankruptcy. Chapter 13 is called the debtor’s court, and that’s where you put all of your debts in one pile and make one payment to what is called a trustee. In that case, you think generally keep your car but it is put in the debtor’s court case and a lot of time that helps because you can lower the interest rate to 4 or 7% versus 12 or 20% that you’re paying on some cars and you can put what you’re behind in your house in it. If you qualify for Chapter~7 that’s liquidation didn’t you get rid of your automotive, your credit card debt, medical bills, and oftentimes in a bankruptcy you can also keep your car, you just super-to pay for it and your house. So both of them are, you know, good vehicle easy to help you know out when you run into debt problems.
>> We have Tenecia in center point. Hello?
>> Caller: Hello. How are doing tonight?
>> We’re good.
>> Tell us what is going on in your situation.
>> I was calling because I recently lost my job and I have some debt they need to take care of and vehicle and and I was wondering without me having a job could I still file for bankruptcy?
>> Well, that’s a good question. You probably can’t file for debtor’s court because the debtor’s court case you generally have to have a job or some source of income. That can be unemployment or disability or something like that but you probably have a file a straight bankruptcy. If had you some way to pay for the vehicle you could keep it. But you could file for bankruptcy and get rid of those debts.
>> Now, let’s talk Jimmy in Clanton tonight. Hello there.
>> Hi there.
>> Tell us what is going on.
>> My husband passed away back last February.
>> Caller: And his son came up and cleaned out his bank account. And it threw me, you know having to take care of all of the household bills, the taxes, everything and I had my own bills, you know. And I own — well, I’m paying for one house — and I own this one — and I was just wondering, should I file bank — could I fight bankruptcy with two houses?
>> Yes, ma’am, you generally could. I’m, first off, sorry for your loss. There are a lot of questions about your son cleaning out his bank account, but with that being said, yeah, you could file debtors court or bankruptcy two two houses. There’s nothing that said you couldn’t keep both houses as long as you could afford to pay for them. In addition if your husband had bills, credit card, medical bills, you probably aren’t liable for those so you really need to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer to figure that out.
>> Now to Tamika who is in Birmingham tonight. Hi, Tamika.
>> Caller: Hi, how are y’all?
>> Caller: Yes. The question I have, I owe the IRS and plus I have where I have a lawsuit pending against me through an insurance company. But the thing is, I’m a caregiver, and I don’t have finances now. And I want to know which chapter should I file because now they have put a pending on my license.
>> Due to the car accident, you said? I couldn’t quite here that.
>> Yes. It was car accident and it was years ago. And I was able to pay something then because at that time I was employed put I am unemployed now because I’m a full-time caregiver and they have suspended my license and I don’t have the means of income anymore to pay so it’s over $20,000. So I was wondering how could I file for bankruptcy and which bankruptcy annal I age to get my license back?
>> With either one you could get your license back but as soon as you file bankruptcy you can go to the apt Department of Transportation and you get your license back and it’s about 150 bunk. The Chapter~7 will get rid that car wreck, a debtor’s court case would put the — more than likely put the IRS in a payment plan but you’re not going to get rid of the IRS. They are still going to be there.
>> Now to Elizabeth in Adamsville.
>> I was calling about a bankruptcy that I filed back about four years ago, filed Chapter~7. The bankruptcy attorney did not let me know that I would possibly lose some inherited land that I had out of state. So they put the land up for sale. The land sale for sale the let’s three years or so and they were unable to sell the land. Now they have taken the signs down. It’s no longer for sale. What happens at this point. Does it stay up for sale forever? How long does it stay for sale? What should I do to not get this land taken away, that kind of thing.
>> Well, if it’s still there and hasn’t been sold, I think I would just kind of lay low. Because the longer it goes, the longer the bankruptcy trustee is not going to have much of an interest anytime. It doesn’t sound like it had a lot of value. You know the land is still there, right? So at some point lit pass where that won’t be such a problem for you.
>> Let’s Facebook and when we come back we will take more of your bankruptcy-related phone calls — Pick up the phone and dial it at 855-LAW-1955. “Lawcall” 855-LAW-1955. ***Break***.
>> Here is our calendar for the next three weeks. March 19, we take your “Phonecalls about DUI.” The 26th of March will be “ask us anything.” And April 2nd will be “scams and ripoffs.” Join in and call with your questions. If you would like to get in touch with our guest attorney he is Stephen Jones in Bessemer. Call (205)428-2110. Or check him out online at SHJlaw.info. If you would like to get in touch with Bob Prince, dial this number Princelaw.net. And Ken Riley is with Farris, Riley & Pitt, 324-1212, or deliveringjustice.com is a way you can locate him. So back to bankruptcy tonight and that’s what our discussion is all about. And we have had is great calls. We will move forward with Jeffrey. You’re in Gadsden I understand. Welcome to “Lawcall.”
>> Caller: Yes, sir. I got hurt at work. No part of my own, about a month ago. And now I can’t pay my bills. They’re going to repossess my car and everything. I haven’t even started workman’s comp yet. Should I file bankruptcy?
>> Great question. Ken, I know you can weigh-in on this one.
>> Can’t hear it.
>> OK. He lost his job a month ago —
>> Not working yet and has not got his workman’s comp yet.
>> Lost his job. Was he fired?
>> I don’t think so.
>> You weren’t fired, were you?
>> Caller: No I’m not fired at all. I’m still at the same can be and everything.
>> Injured on the job. So you have a workers’ compensation claim. First make sure that comp claim is moving forward. You need to make sure you’re getting the proper treatment treatment. When you have a situation where you’re injured on the job and guaranteed medical treatment through an authorized medical physician. Don’t see a doctor on your own. Use the the doctor the employer tells you to use. Then if you get in a situation where you do lose your job because you can’t work, well, they can’t pay you up until the time that you have reached what is called MMI, or maximum medical improvement. So you will be receiving temporary benefits leading to the point where you kind of plateaued in terms of of your recovery. So when you have reached that time and you can’t go book to your job, then in the state of Alabama they don’t have to accommodate you for your loss of ability to work. So at that time you can settle your case for your permanent disability. Now during that time period if you do lose your job then you may have have to file social security disability. You may have to file unemployment and eventually — and that might be the ultimate question that you were calling ability tonight, you may have to file bankruptcy. So Steve I know you see a lot of times when people are injured, they don’t ever get to go back to work or don’t get together to dot things they were accustomed to doing and they come see you. What do you tell them to do?
>> Once they have some form of income, be it workman’s camp or — sir are you still there.
>> Yes, sir.
>> Are you married?
>> No, sir.
>> Once you start getting that workman’s comp or know it’s coming you can file a debtor’s court petition and if you have credit card or payday loans or things like that, that would put them on the back burner because I’m sure they’re driving you have crazy.
>> Next is Diane in Winfield.
>> Caller: Hi, how are you?
>> We’re good. Thank you for calling us. We appreciate it.
>> Caller: Well, I just have a question. I live on social security. I have a house payment and a car payment. I’ve gotten in trouble with credit cards.
>> Caller: And credit — I can’t seem to be able to pay it off. What should I do? Should I file tore bankruptcy? Can I deep my house and my car?
>> Yes, ma’am.
>> I have been paying payments on those force for years.
>> They have you crazy, the credit card companies, don’t they?
>> That’s because that’s all they can do right now. You need to see a bankruptcy lawyer and file a debtor’s court or bankruptcy petition?
>> Don’t seem them any more money. Make sure to make your car payment because that is the easiest thing to be taken away from you. They can come get your car if you’re 30 days behind and don’t get too far behind on your how was. Quit make the payments on your credit card and go see a lawyer and it will solve your problems. Okay?
>> John from Centre. Hi, John. What is your question?
>> Caller: I paid out of a Chapter 13 a year ago, and I got in a wreck. I have been out for a while and can’t seem to catch up. Can I file if I have to?
>> You got out of debtor’s court a year ago due to your accident?
>> No. This is two separate accidents.
>> I paid out of one last year, and I got into another one.
>> Are you back at work now?
>> Caller: Yes, sir.
>> And you’re not in debtor’s court right now, is that correct.
>> STUDENT: No, sir, I am not.
>> You can get back in. You might have to file what are called motions with the Court because you were recently in debtor’s court but that shouldn’t about problem. You can get right back in and get in a debtor’s court plan to keep your house and car to keep moving on.
>> All right. We hope that helps you. Thank you very much four your calls and questions tonight. Again Steve they’re coming in and lending your expertise. And, Ken, always great to see you.
>> Always great to be here.
>> Have a great week everyone. See you for “Lawcall” next Sunday night and another great topic and call in with any of your questions you may have. We will see you next Sunday night for “Lawcall.”