How to negotiate your way out of debt

As you grow up and become financially independent, you have to find some way to handle your financial obligations regardless of your situation. Borrowing money becomes more common, especially during hard times. Credit cards, loans, and payment plans are all different ways that people make ends meet and make their checkbooks balance. Although this may help in the short run, or even the long term in many cases, sometimes it’s only kicking the can down the road. Debt and borrowing can snowball into a much more significant issue that will require your undivided attention at one point when the can is just too big to kick it any further.

Debt negotiation can be a valuable tool for people who are struggling with overwhelming financial obligations. It’s a complicated process by which someone can agree with their creditor to pay a lesser amount of money than that which is owed. In many cases, this is a win-win for both sides, as the creditor won’t have to write off the entire loan as a loss and can recoup some of their money, and the borrower won’t have to resort to more borrowing or even bankruptcy to deal with their debt.

Trying for debt negotiation without an attorney is a tricky ordeal. An attorney can function as an unbiased 3rd party who will work in your favor to try and put together the best deal possible for you, while not being at odds with your creditor. With fewer emotions involved due to their financial detachment, they can keep a level head in the negotiating process to come up with a deal that your creditor will accept, and will work in your favor. Debt negotiations can be done for a variety of loans, including, but not limited to:

  • Credit cards
  • Banking fees
  • Cash advancements
  • Retail credit cards
  • Medical debt
  • Personal loans
  • Debt owed after repossession
  • Legal judgments (over 12 months overdue)
  • Private student loans

Just about any and all liabilities can be renegotiated and changed to allow creditors and borrowers to come out with a slight victory on their end. It’s possible to reduce one’s debt by a very significant percentage, anywhere from 30-70 percent is likely and has been done before. Although it depends on who the creditor is, a reasonable attorney should be able to get a sizeable chunk of your debt removed. However, in many cases debt negotiation may not be the best option, and bankruptcy would be the best avenue instead. If you feel this may be the case for you, the best option is still to speak with an attorney, who can help run through your options and help you pick the one that will most benefit you.

When to Call a Lawyer After an Accident

Picture this: you’ve just had a serious collision with someone on the road. Maybe it’s your fault, or maybe it’s theirs. What’s the first thing you do?

You check to make sure you’re alright. You check to see if anyone else in your car is alright. Then you check the other guy. And then what?

Do you call the police, your insurance…your lawyer?

It crosses everyone’s mind, but when exactly is it right to get a lawyer involved after an accident?

Basically, you should call for any of these five reasons:

  1. Someone’s been injured
  2. Someone’s died due to the accident
  3. The police report is putting the wrong person at fault (especially if it’s you!).
  4. There’s a lot of property damage
  5. You’re afraid your insurance isn’t going to pay out fully

Those are all pretty serious nightmare scenarios but don’t just assume this can’t happen to you and skip on to the next article. Around three million people are injured in car accidents every year in the U.S. That’s about one percent of the whole population. The number of accidents is about six million.

In addition, CNN says America has the highest road death rate in the world, and road crashes are the largest cause of death for citizens going abroad.

But even if those facts are too scary for you, just let this one give you pause: according to asirt.org, America spends $230 billion EVERY YEAR on car accidents. Do you really want to have a chunk of that money coming from you?

That doesn’t mean that you need to have a lawyer on speed dial for every fender bender, but make sure you have someone in mind just in case things are a bit more serious.

According to Munley Law, facing a car accident without a lawyer can mean you end up with:

  1. Increased pain and suffering
  2. Serious medical bills
  3. Lost wages (or even losing your job)
  4. Potentially diminished earning power (if you end up with a chronic injury)
  5. Being on the hook for long-term rehabilitation or therapy (for you or the other people injured)

Like every other kind of law, the laws around car insurance are complicated and hard to navigate if you’re a novice. So don’t just expect you can handle everything coming because you’re pretty clever. Remember that the other guy may be lawyering up even if you think you can reach a deal on your own.

If you’re worried about that lawyer money, a lot of places will give you at least a free consultation—they may even base all charges on whether you win the lawsuit or not. When looking for lawyers, make sure you find someone who is upfront about being flexible like that, so you don’t end up worrying about payments on two ends.

Adoption and Its Effects

An article by Herman, E. (2011), titled “Adoption History in Brief,” which is posted in the The Social Welfare website says that “During the twentieth century, numbers of adoptions increased dramatically in the United States. In 1900, formalizing adoptive kinship in a court was still very rare. By 1970, the numerical peak of twentieth-century adoption, 175,000 adoptions were finalized annually. “Stranger” or “non-relative” adoptions have predominated over time, and most people equate adoption with families in which parents and children lack genetic ties. Today, however, a majority of children are adopted by natal relatives and step-parents, a development that corresponds to the rise of divorce, remarriage, and long-term cohabitation.” (http://socialwelfare.library.vcu.edu/programs/child-welfarechild-labor/adoption/)

Establishing a parent-child relationship (through adoption) between two persons not naturally related to each other can be a challenging endeavor, especially if the adoptee is already at a certain age or if the adopting parents have other children. Jealousy and the issue legal rights of everyone, especially of the spouse and biological children (if and when the spouses divorce one another or if one spouse dies), usually set in.

This is because, through adoption, the adopted child acquires all the right and privileges possessed and enjoyed by any member of the family; including becoming an heir in the same family. As regards the adoptee’s biological parents, they lose all their rights over their child as the adopting parents are legally declared the adoptee’s new and rightful parents through adoption. 

Adoption was originally conceived as a means to normalize and give meaning to the union of married, but childless couples. In 1851, however, when the Adoption of Children Act was made a law, adoption assumed the purpose of legal and social operations intended to promote the interest of a child rather than that of the adopting parents. In modern society, couples, whether of opposite or of the same sex, can adopt a child, so long as the court sees them fit to parent a child.

The United States recognizes two types of adoption: closed adoption and open adoption. In closed adoption, the state decides who can adopt a child, legally requiring the biological mother to relinquish her rights (over her child) in the process. Open adoption, is its exact opposite, as this legal procedure allows the birth mother to choose the adopting parents, besides maintaining the right to communicate with, and visit, her child. 

Since states regulate the laws concerning adoption, there is no uniformity as to what is required or considered for a couple, or even a single adult, to be deemed worthy of adopting a child. Often, couples or individuals are confronted by laws and requirements that suddenly make adopting a child a complex procedure.

Raleigh divorce lawyers at Marshall & Taylor PLLC explains that every adoption is unique, based on the family’s circumstances and the type of adoption they choose to pursue. While some couples will naturally choose to adopt an infant, there are cases wherein adopting families choose to adopt a step-child, an adult or even a foreigner.

 

 

The Social Security Disability (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are two large programs of the U.S. Federal government that are aimed at providing financial assistance to people with disabilities. SSDI was created by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in 1956, while SSI was created in 1974.

The SSDI pays disability benefits to qualified SS insured members who are below the age of 65 and who are also totally disabled. To qualify for payment, a member must meet the following requirements:

  • Had worked long enough (or recently enough) and have paid Social Security taxes or Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes while employed (these taxes are automatically deducted from employees’ monthly take home pay on a monthly basis);
  • Has earned the number of credits required by the SSA (employees earn four credits annually); and,
  • Is suffering from total disability

Total disability or disability, as defined by the SSA, means:

  • Inability to perform previous work, as well as any other work, due to the medical condition;
  • The disability has either lasted for a year or is likely to last for a year or more; and,
  • The disability can result in death.

A list medical conditions that are severe enough has been drawn up by the SSA; finding one’s health problem in this list would automatically include him/her in the roster of disabled insured SS members. Not finding one’s health condition in the list, however, will require an evaluation by Social Security in order to determine if the health condition is serious enough to be considered a form of total disability.

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability program, on the other hand, provides non-taxable financial assistance to Americans, who are, at least, 65 years old, blind, or disabled (the meaning assigned to “disability” is the same with SSDI), and whose income or resources fall within the federal benefit rate (FBR) determined by the government.

Since SSI funding comes from the U.S. Treasury general funds (rather than the SS taxes paid monthly by insured SS members), neither SS credits nor previous employment is, therefore, required to qualify into the program.

The SSI program aims to help provide for the basic needs of its beneficiaries. These basic needs include food, shelter and clothing. In a number of states, SSI benefits application is also considered as application for food stamps, while other states allow the benefits to be supplemented by Medicaid to cover prescriptions, doctor’s fee and other medical care costs.

For millions of Americans who live with a disabling physical or mental condition, it can be extraordinarily difficult to support themselves on their own. This is particularly true when their disability makes them unable to work. Fortunately, the Social Security disability program provides benefits to those who suffer from disabilities, helping disabled individuals to get the support they need to live their lives on their own.

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program provides financial support to those have become disabled by an injury or illness, and have met the required work credits. Additionally, children and spouses of deceased workers are often able to get disability benefits through this program.

SSI benefits, on the other hand, are available to those living on low incomes who are aged, blind, or suffer from a disability, with sometimes increased benefits for families to help provide a level of support that more accurately matches their needs.

 

The Dangers of Head-on Collisions

There are different kinds of car accidents, such as sideswipes, rear-end collisions, T-bone accidents, and rollovers. But arguably the most dangerous of them all is head-on collisions. Getting hurt in a car accident, particularly a head-on collision, can have devastating effects.

Common Causes
A head-on collision happens when two vehicles’ front ends crash into each other, so most victims of head-on collision cases are traveling on opposite directions. Head-on collisions can happen because of many reasons, but the most common reasons are the following:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs and losing control
  • Driving while distracted, such as texting and eating
  • Falling asleep while driving and drifting into the opposite lane
  • Going the wrong way
  • Losing control during a curve or turn
  • Speeding
  • Veering into oncoming traffic to overtake a vehicle

Common Injuries
Since head-on collisions involve the front ends of the vehicles involved, the occupants of the vehicles absorb a big portion of the collision force, resulting into devastating injuries.

Head injuries and brain trauma: The head of the victims may hit hard surfaces, such as the steering wheel and windshield, or get hit by projectiles, such as debris. These may result into head injuries, including facial deformation, and into brain trauma, including concussion and severe traumatic brain injury.

Neck injuries and whiplash: The sudden jolt caused by the collision may put a strain in the victims’ necks, resulting into neck fractures and other neck injuries such as whiplash.

Spinal cord injuries and back problems: The sudden jolt may also catch the body unprepared and relaxed, resulting into problems in the spinal cord and back. The worst injuries may even result into paralysis, limiting the victims’ motor and sensory functions.

Death: Many head-on collisions are high-impact accidents, so it is not surprising that many result into the death of the victims. Even the injuries stated above, when extremely severe, may cause death.