Category: General Blog

Are Auto Insurers Putting The Bottom Line Ahead Of Safety?

A recent WCVB expose asked the question “Are auto insurers putting the bottom line ahead of safety?”.  You  The answer is a resounding the YES!!  You can link to that article and broadcast here. The insurance companies are putting profits before safety in auto repairs. It is very easy for them to do this when there is a unitized frame. At this point almost all cars and many small trucks and SUVs have unibody construction. It saves the insurance companies a lot of money, and it does result in unsafe cars being on the road. I discussed this issue at some length three years ago in my blog “Car Accidents and the Importance of Auto Repair and...

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Question About Renting Out Surrendered Property When The Bank Does Not Foreclose

This question came in my email today, and I am going to answer it here: Question Detail: Can I rent my house to someone in need if I filed bankruptcy and the case has been discharged for 3 years but bank has done nothing yet with the house? Answer:  Yes, but you should have a plan for if the bank does come for the house. The fact is that even though you have filed bankruptcy, discharged the mortgage and advised the court and Trustee of your intention to surrender the property, it is still yours until the bank comes to take it away.  It is not uncommon for the bank to take three years to come for a house.  Unless and until it does, you still own it and may treat it as your property.  If you live in it, you may continue to live in it until the bank forecloses upon it and evicts you (or pays you to move out).  If it is a rental property, you may continue to collect rent until the bank forecloses. I will admit that I am a...

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New Repaye Program For Direct Student Loans

The Department of Education announced the Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) rules for Student loan borrowers who cannot afford their regular payments. The two most important changes in the program are 1. the REPAYE rules apply to all government direct student loans, no matter how long ago they were issued, and not just to “new” borrowers and 2. the payment will be based upon 10% of “disposable income” (the difference between the borrowers adjusted gross income and the poverty line). People in the REPAYE program will be eligible for full debt forgiveness after 20 years. If they have graduate debt then the forgiveness period is extended to 25 years. If the borrower works in the public (government) or non-profit sector, they can receive a full debt forgiveness after only ten years. The one big problem with...

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The Insurance Adjuster Is Not Your Friend

The insurance adjuster is not your friend. The Insurance adjuster may seem nice. Many of them actually are nice, but they are still not your friends. Adjusters may tell you that they are trying to help you. Some might even seem to be helping you. For example, they might get you into a rental car quickly, or get you to their body shop. However, they are not helping you. They are not paying for anything they are not required to pay for anyway. What they are trying to do is “keep the case under control”. What does it mean to keep a case “under control”? It means keeping you from seeing a lawyer, so that the insurance company remains in “control”. While they have the case under control, they will try to do all manner of things to harm your case in the long run. Almost immediately, they will seek to take a recorded statement. Many of my clients have already given a recorded statement before they have come to see me. They tell me that it was no big deal. All they did was...

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Accidents Where The Government Is At Fault – There Are A Lot Of Rules And They Generally Do Not “Just Settle”

It is becoming increasingly common that accidents involve the government. If you get hit by a police cruiser, have a slip and fall in a government office or are a victim of medical malpractice in a VA Hospital, your defendant is not the individual at fault, but the relevant government entity. Right off the bat, identifying that government entity can be challenging, but it is important to identify the right one. For example, in Massachusetts if you are in an accident with a police cruiser, then the entity is the town that the police officer works for. If it is a state trooper, then it is the Commonwealth. If the cruiser belongs to a Sheriff’s Department, then it is a county government that is responsible, unless it is Middlesex County. If you are in an accident with a Lowell Regional Transit Authority bus, then the Lowell Regional Transit Authority is your defendant, but if it is an MBTA bus, the MBTA is responsible. I recently had a case in which my client was involved in an...

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What You Should Do If You Have Been Injured In An Auto Accident – The Unabridged Version

On the car accident page of my website I have a section called “What Should You Do If You Have Been Injured In An Auto Accident?” and that begins with a section of what to do at the scene of a motor vehicle accident. There, I briefly describe eight things to do while at the scene once you have established that it is safe for you to do so. In this article, I will discuss those eight things more in depth. Those eight things are: Stop Check for injuries Identify Witnesses
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Bankruptcy And Student Financial Aid

I thank the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys for sharing this article on bankruptcy and financial aid.  People often ask me about the impact of bankruptcy on financial aid and I refer them to their school’s financial aid officer. However, it is generally the case that need based financial aid is unaffected by a bankruptcy filing. If the school or the government is handing out money based upon financial need, then that cannot have a credit based component. Private and other credit based loans could be affected.  However, if you are contemplating bankruptcy then your credit is probably already bad and thus you would be ineligible for a credit based product anyway.  This article provides a good...

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Two Good Reasons Why You Should Always Exchange Information, Even After A Minor Collision

Sometimes when you are involved in a “minor” accident, you might not feel it is necessary to exchange information. You should do it anyway. There are two good reasons for this. The first reason is that even if you are uninjured, you may still have a property damage claim. The property damage claim may be much larger than you expect. I have written a blog on Car Accidents and the Importance of Auto Repair and Registered Shops and it discusses the fact that property damage is often much worse than it appears. Automobiles are designed to hide their damage. However, if you cannot identify the car that hit you, then your insurance company will not waive your deductible. If you do not have collision coverage, then there is no one to collect from at all. This can be an expensive...

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Save Your Prescription Receipts

I tell all my clients that if they have been injured in any kind of an accident or slip and fall to save their prescription receipts. I assure them that if they bring me their receipts, I will get them their money back. After all, the at-fault party is required to reimburse you for the full cost of your prescriptions and the automobile no-fault or PIP Carrier is required to reimburse you promptly for your prescription co-pays. From time to time my client will tell me that the prescription “only” cost them ten dollars ($10.00) and that they do not want me to worry about it. I tell them that the ten dollars can go to them or the ten dollars can go to the insurance company. I would much prefer that the ten dollars go to them. However, that is not the real reason I want the prescription. The real reason is that it helps me to demonstrate how badly they were hurt. How badly were they hurt? They were so hurt that they had to take prescription...

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“Do It Yourself” Income Based Repayment Plans For Private Student Loans In Chapter 13

I recently read an article that was posted in a consumer bankruptcy attorneys forum titled “Student Loan Debtors Using Chapter 13 Bankruptcy to Buy Time On Payments“.  This article was about “Do it Yourself Income Based Repayment Plans” for student loan Debtors by using Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. I was happy to see this article, because it addresses a subject I have been thinking about a lot, although it does not resolve the issue in my mind. Then I read a second article on the same subject, and decided I should blog about...

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