Bankruptcy and student loan obligations

Finding a way to pay back student loans is a priority for a lot of people. With the economy in the shape that it is in, it is difficult to budget the monthly payment and continue to have money for living expenses.

When you factor in children and the cost to care for them, it can become too much. This is especially true if you have bill collectors calling and sending letters constantly. In addition, you don’t want your student loans to go into default.

Some people have considered filing for bankruptcy. However, bankruptcy laws have changed and it is not as easy as it used to be to get your student loans discharged. Student loans are usually considered a non-dischargeable debt, which means that even after bankruptcy, you must pay the student loans. If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy and want to include your student loans, it is important to know the facts.

The truth is that student loans can be discharged in bankruptcy, but getting them discharged can be a difficult task. If you decide to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the only way you can get your student loans discharged is by proving that paying them is an undue hardship. An undue hardship is when you file a motion with the bankruptcy court that paying your student loans will be a hardship on the expenses of you and your family. You have to prove three things in order to even be considered for an undue hardship.

Another choice is to file your student loans as part of your Chapter 13. This way you can put collection calls and default status on halt. When you file Chapter 13, you will have three to five years to pay back your debts, including your student loans. Even better, as part of your Chapter 13, you might be able to get your monthly student loan payments reduced.

To file a Chapter 13, you will need to have a stable job and disposable income, which means having money left over after paying basic living expenses such as mortgage, utilities, and food. It is important to know that although you will paying your student loan as part of your Chapter 13, you are still responsible for the balance left over after your bankruptcy payment is over.

Railroad Crossing Accidents and Safety: What You Need to Know

Railroad crossing accidents are one of the most dangerous types of accidents involving motor vehicles. Studies show that over 85% of railroad accidents occur at railroad crossings. In addition, most of these accidents are avoidable if certain measures are taken.

Warning Systems Not Working

The majority of railroad crossing accidents are due to the warning bell or crossing gates not working. In addition, some drivers claim they couldn’t see the train coming because of shrubbery, trees, or bushes surrounding the railroad crossing. It is the responsibility of the railroad company to make sure that the area around the crossing is clear and free so that the railroad conductor and driver can see each other. Also, it is their responsibility, as well as the city officials, to make sure that the warning bells and crossing bars are working properly.

Drivers have some responsibility as well. It is never smart to try to “out run” an oncoming train. A good number of fatal accidents have been caused by drivers that try to beat a train by driving around the crossing bars or in front of a stopped train at a train depot. On some locomotives, the conductor is sitting up high and cannot see what is right in front of the train.

Railroad Conductors/Workers Negligent Behavior

There have been several cases across the U.S. where train conductors have been involved in accidents due to speeding. Federal regulations are in place that a train can go at only a certain speed, especially when driving through residential areas.

Long Hours/Drug Abuse/Under the Influence

As with other vehicle drivers, railroad conductors need to be screened for drugs and alcohol. This is not always the case. Furthermore, studies show that most railroad conductors work long hours with no breaks which can cause them to fall asleep behind the wheel of the train. If you factor in a conductor that is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it makes for a deadly combination. This is especially true for conductors that are stressed out to make a destination at a certain time and is running late, causing them to drive the train at a higher speed.

Do Substance Abuse Treatment Programs Reduce Auto Accidents Fatalities?

Studies show that cities and towns were substance abuse programs were established, the number of automobile accidents were reduced from anywhere from 8 to 13 percent. This is a positive since, each year, there are over 30,000 motor

Don’t drink & drive!

vehicle fatalities in the U.S. with over 30% being alcohol or drug related. Several hindrances have been put into place in the past to discourage people from driving while high or intoxicated. For example, alcohol taxes, not selling liquor on Sundays, revoking driver license, and raising the legal drinking age are just a few.

With the number of auto deaths on the rise, the state and federal government have stepped in. By putting on the books such laws as making seat belts mandatory, enforcing the speed limit, and rising the cost of insurance, the government is helping to do its part in reducing fatal car accidents. Some counties are known to be “dry” counties, prohibiting the sale of alcohol. However, some motorists bypass this by going to the next town or city and purchasing liquor and drugs. Still, research shows that being a “dry” county does typically reduce the number of automobile accidents every year.

Alcohol taxes seem to have a positive effect on reducing the number of fatal accidents, especially in towns were the average income is low and people usually don’t have any extra money to pay an excess tax. In smaller towns, drivers don’t want to get their license taken away as well. Besides not having any public transportation, the probability of getting caught driving on a suspended license is higher than a driver in a larger metropolitan area.

If you are ever in the need for some assistance or advice in an alcohol or drug related auto accident, contact a personal injury attorney immediately. Their knowledge and expertise can assist you in getting the justice you deserve.

Legal Marketing and the iPad

Tablet computers are making legal marketing on the internet a necessary avenue to promote one’s law firm and its services. The iPad by Apple is one of the top sellers of tablet computers. Therefore, it would be beneficial to a law firm to take full advantage of the efficiency of using an iPad to do business with its clients.

Make it easy for people to search for a lawyer

The majority of people own some sort of mobile device, such as an iPad. This is due to the fact that it allows its users to access the internet on the go and is user-friendly. Thus, people are buying them at a rapid rate.

An example of its features is quick payment of services. Since the majority of banking is heading towards being online, it would be beneficial to a law firm to move towards online money servicing as well. A huge number of banks now offer online bill payment to save time and money. In addition, such services as PayPal can make a money transaction safe and quick. There is no waiting for a check to clear; money will be readily available.

There is also the whole aspect of legal marketing and search engine optimization. Since most consumers use some sort of search engine, such as Google or Yahoo, to lookup information, a law firm should make sure that they are listed on as many internet legal directories as possible. There are many including those organized by state, type of law practice, and attorney’s name.

This is a very important aspect, especially for example, if a person is looking for legal services for someone else in another state or while they are on vacation. If you are advertised well, then when someone is searching for a law firm or an attorney, your name and the name of your firm will appear frequently.

A good legal marketing firm can assist with promoting you and the services that you and your firm provide. They can boost business by increasing your visibility on the web and make sure that it appears at the top of search engines.

Pedestrian Accidents on Interstates and Highways

Even though it is legally restricted, there are many reasons why a person will be on a standing or walking on an interstate or highway. One of the main explanations is a car accident has taken place and they are going for help. Another good reason is that their car has stalled or stopped and they are trying to fix it on the side of the road.

While these are all legitimate scenarios for physically being on a highway, it is also one of the most dangerous. Studies have shown in recent years that more and more people are becoming causalities of pedestrian accidents on interstates and highways and the numbers keep growing.

Typically, alcohol or some sort of controlled substance factors into the equation—for both the pedestrian and the driver. Usually, if a driver is high or drunk, their response and reaction time diminishes. On the same note, if a pedestrian is drunk, they cannot move out of the way of a fast-moving vehicle the same as if they were sober.

Another reason for the rise in pedestrian accidents on the interstates and highway is the number of drivers that drive way over the speed limit, especially in larger SUVs. Many believe that they can drive fast and react quickly if someone steps out in front of their vehicle. But fatality reports from across the states have shown the opposite.

Not only is this not true, but usually those driving fast in larger SUVs have been known to lose control of their vehicle. If you factor in texting or talking on a cell phone as well, then the probability of avoiding a collision goes down.

If you find yourself or your loved one has been the victim of a highway or interstate accident, the first thing you want to do is contact an Atlanta personal injury attorney immediately. They can make sure that get the help and justice you deserve.

Trucking Accidents between Intrastate and Interstate Trucks: What You Need to Know

In the trucking industry, there is a big difference in being an intrastate carrier and an interstate carrier. If you ever find yourself in the misfortune of being in an accident involving an 18-wheeler, this information can be of vital importance.

An intrastate carrier is a truck that carries goods that are going from point A to point B within the state. A shipment from Savannah to Atlanta in Georgia is considered an intrastate delivery. The truck should not leave the state.

An interstate carrier is a truck that carries goods from one state to another, sometimes making stops. A truck carrying goods from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC, can make stops in Dayton, OH and Arlington VA. Additionally, there is authorization needed from Canada and Mexico if the shipment is going to either country.

The rules and regulations for intrastate and interstate carriers differ. There are also a set of regulations for tractor-trailer trucks, whether the truck is doing a partial or full delivery, and how long the driver can go without taking a rest/break. It is the responsibility of the trucking company to make sure that the truck is logged in correctly as either intrastate or interstate.   I

If any changes are made to the delivery, such as going from an intrastate to an interstate delivery, it is vital that the information is changed. Loads are insured for only what is supposed to be on the truck and sometimes trucking companies try to bypass this law.

A real important fact to know is that interstate carriers are regulated by not only the state, but a federal law called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. While intrastate carriers are governed by state law, most states have also adopted federal laws.


The Special Dangers of Garbage Truck Accidents

Garbage trucks are huge vehicles that travel along the streets of any given city, picking up trash from commercial residences and businesses. The risk of being in an accident with a garbage truck is high since most trucks are allowed special privileges that the average driver is not.

While typically drivers are allowed to drive on just one side of the street, garbage trucks can drive on both sides of the street. This can be the basis of why garbage trucks are typically involved in accidents that prove to be deadly.

For example, if a garbage truck is picking up trash in a residential area during the summer when children are playing, the chance of a child running out in the middle of the street for a ball or playing in the street is high. Garbage truck drivers need to be particularly aware of this, but sometimes they are not. Other things drivers need to be aware are garbage falling off the truck and faulty wheels/brakes.

Another high-risk area of garbage truck accidents is with cyclists. Because garbage trucks usually make wide and unexpected turns, they need to pay attention to cyclists who sometimes like to weave in and around cars.

Drivers sometimes cannot see everyone that is behind them or those that speed up next to the truck at the last minute. For drivers and cyclists on the road, it is important to remember this: if you can’t see the garbage truck mirrors, then the garbage truck driver cannot see you.

Garbage truck drivers need to take some extra precautions when driving. They are supposed to drive slowly and be aware of everything and everyone around them. Because they are operating such a huge vehicle, doing such things as running red lights, making sudden turns and stops, talking or texting on a cell phone just raises the possibility of hitting a pedestrian, driver, or cyclist.

The injuries sustained by being in an accident with a garbage truck are catastrophic; people have suffered broken spines, loss of arms and legs, paralysis, head trauma, and third-degree burns.

Cell Phone, Texting, and Auto Accidents

It is the most talked about topic when it comes to automobile accidents—using a cell phone for texting and talking while driving. In recent years, more accidents have been caused by this than any other reason. Legislation has been presented to making texting or talking while driving a crime, but the number of accidents still keeps going up.

Some states, including Kansas, have legislation in place that bans the use of cell phones while driving, especially for those under the age of 18. Some states have gone a step further and ban those under the 18 from using a hands-free device while driving, which includes bluetooths and earbuds.

When you are driving and talking or texting, you are distracted from the road. Your attention becomes focused on the person on the other end of the phone. In addition, other things such as reading the phone screen, typing responses to text messages, and listening to a conversation all can make your reaction time slower to a child, for example, darting out in front of your car.

Studies have shown that drivers that text while driving have been seen weaving in and out of traffic, running stop signs, and rear-ending cars. But this does not only apply to those driving cars.

There have been several well-publicized accidents involving school buses where the driver was texting while transporting children to and from schools. A collision in California between a freight train and a commuter train was the result of the operator of the commuter train texting and not paying attention. In this accident, 25 people were killed.

Most of the time, a driver that was found to be texting while driving will be stopped for some other reason such as speeding or going through a red light. It is afterwards that it is discovered that texting was involved. Victims of these accidents are not only being killed, but some are suffering from injuries to their brain, spine, and head.

They are becoming paraplegics and quadriplegics. The medical bills are enormous, they are losing their jobs since they have to take off from work for rehabilitation, and their life is never the same.

Corporate Flexibility Act 2011 and its Effect on Corporations

In February, California introduced a bill in the Senate that would allow corporations, including start-ups, to create a “green corporation” without being threaten with a lawsuit by their shareholders. The current law on the books in California allows shareholders to take legal action if they believe their corporation becoming environmental will affect their profits.

The new bill will allow companies to become a sort of “for-benefit” corporation, a new type of business that centers around other goals beside financial gain. This has typically been an issue in the past with most corporations from taking an active part in environment and social matters, such as not outsourcing jobs or participating in Earth Day.

This is usually why society has such harsh resentment towards big business; most people believe, and it is true to some extent, that all most corporations are interested in are profits. In addition, most big corporations thumb their noses down on non-profit corporations and some do not even consider them to be corporations.

The push to get more corporations to take a more proactive part in making their companies “greener” has typically been met with hostility. This is not the first time that social activists and lawmakers have been introduced to offer corporations a chance to become more environmentally conscience. Recently, Maryland and Vermont have introduced actions to allow “for-benefit” corporations. However, they are usually geared towards smaller corporations and firms.

This is why the Corporate Flexibility Law of 2011, also known as SB 201, is so important. This law would authorize and legalize the formation of a new type of business known as the “flexible purpose corporation.” It is, for the most part, geared toward the big, public, and well-known companies.

This is why it will be difficult, it seems, for the more established and well-known big corporations in California to change and become “for-benefit” corporations and get “B-Corporation” status.

Ways to Reduce the Risk of Bicycle Accidents

To save money and in keeping with becoming a more environmental friendly nation, more people are using their bicycles as a mode of transportation. Because there are more new bicyclists on the roads, accidents involving motorists and bike riders are on the rise. The majority of these accidents are due to not knowing and obeying the laws when it comes to who has the right of way on the streets. An even bigger number of accidents are because of not following safety guidelines. A collision between a driver and a bicyclist is one of the most serious accidents, since typically end up causing fatalities. Most of these accidents are usually avoidable by just adhering to some basic rules, having good judgment, and using common sense.

Bike Paths

While some cities have created bicycle lanes on their roads, a good number have not. Bike paths are created for a reason: so that bicyclists can have a lane on the road just the same as motorists. They are not for drivers trying to bypass other motorists they feel are driving too slowly. Likewise, bicyclists who choose to ride in between cars instead of along the designated bike paths are putting themselves at risk for an accident.

Hazardous Turns

Sometimes, motorists have no patience with other cars when it is time to turn, let alone a bicyclist. However, trying to be the first to turn, especially when a bike rider is next to a motorist can prove fatal. It can cause the bicyclist to have to stop right in the middle of riding, which can lead them to get hit by another car. Or, cutting them off from turning can cause them to hit the car or fall off their bike in the street. A good rule to follow is if a bicyclist is making a turn in the same direction, give them enough room, space, and time to do so.

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