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Lehighton Legal Issues Blog

Can I recover lost wages after a car accident?

It is not uncommon at all to have to miss work for a few days, or even for an extended period of time, after an auto accident. If the accident was just minor, we may take a day or two off to allow our bodies to heal from any soreness or bruising. If the accident was major, we may require surgery, other treatments, or rehabilitation that can takes month to complete. All of these result in lost wages. So how can those be recouped?

The first step after an auto accident is to file an insurance claim with either the insurance company of the at-fault party, or with your own insurance company if they did not have coverage. You will be provided a claim number. Coverage for your lost wages will depend on what kind of coverage an active policy offered. Lost wages may be covered under liability, underinsured or uninsured motorist, or personal injury protection (only required in no-fault states).

Pennsylvania heroin laws

Heroin use has become such an epidemic in our country that states have adopted laws that specifically address and set out sentences for its use, possession and distribution. Pennsylvania is no exception.

In the state of Pennsylvania, heroin can be charged as a simple misdemeanor for possession of less than 1 gram, sentenced to 1 year in prison and a fine up to $5,000 fine, up to a felony and 15 years in prison for multiple offenses or distribution. Further, a fine of $250,000 or higher can be assessed against a defendant to recover drug profit depending on the scope of the operation. Sales to minors result in double penalties across the board.

How many times and how often can I file Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

In short, the answer to this question is that a person may file bankruptcy as many times as they wish throughout their lifetime. The only stipulation to this statement would be that any bankruptcy filing will depend on eligibility for filing under a given chapter. For example, under the United States Bankruptcy Code, an individual is ineligible to file under Chapter 13 if they have unsecured debt that exceeds a total of $394,725 or secured debt that exceeds a total of $1,184,200. In these cases, a party would need to file under a different Chapter.

Now that we have determined how many times a party can file bankruptcy, lets discuss how often. The answer to this question is a little more complicated and would probably be better worded as "how often can I receive a bankruptcy discharge?"

Man faces multiple charges after drugs found in child's car seat

A 28-year-old Lansford, PA man faces a multitude of drug charges after police found packages of heroin stashed in his 18-month-old child's car seat. One bag was found in the floor of the vehicle near the child, while three others were found underneath the car seat. The child was in the car seat at the time.

The incident stemmed from a call to law enforcement by the Defendant's mother, who stated that he and his girlfriend had taken her car. She also stated that he had a drug problem, and they would not let her use her car. Once the vehicle was located, law enforcement were able to make a stop, take the Defendant into custody, and remove the child. Upon search by prison staff, he was found to have another bag containing drugs hidden on him, which he admitted contained the highly dangerous drug, Fentanyl.

What you do in the hours and days after an accident matters

A car accident can be a physically and emotionally traumatic event. Pennsylvania readers know that a collision can change their lives, but these impacts can go far beyond just the physical. The impact of your car accident may last for years and leave you with significant financial strain.

In many cases, car accident victims may have valid grounds to seek financial compensation through a personal injury claim. However, building a strong claim is not always easy, and it is often beneficial to seek help for the claims process. No matter the details of your individual car accident, it is useful to know what to do to protect yourself and your future interests in the moments and days after an accident.

Lawsuit alleges law enforcement have drunk driving quota

Law enforcement and quotas is something that has been debated since the beginning of time it seems. Lehighton residents who are arrested for drunk driving may feel like law enforcement was out to get them. A new lawsuit alleges that Pennsylvania State Police troopers have a quota they need to meet each month for drinking and driving.

In 2015, two police troopers arrested a man in the parking lot of a bar near Lehighton. The dash cam video of the arrest shows the two police officers discussing their quota of needing 20 drinking and driving arrests each month and who would get credit for that arrest. The video also showed that the arresting officers did not perform field sobriety tests on the defendant although the officers submitted paperwork that the motorist had failed field sobriety tests.

Using Chapter 13 to avoid foreclosure

Lehighton residents who are struggling to pay their bills can feel overwhelmed and frustrated. Just when you think you're doing OK, another bill arrives and you're behind again. Or an unexpected expense pops up, like medical bills or a car needs to be fixed. Regardless of how a person got to this situation, when a house is at risk of foreclosure, Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection may be able to help.

Owning a home is a privilege and a right for those in Lehighton. Home ownership is a source of pride for many residents. But sometimes good people can fall behind on their bills, including their mortgage. When this happens, the mortgage lender may place the home in foreclosure. If this is the case for a Lehighton resident, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection offers some advantages. First, the automatic stay when Chapter 13 is declared stops the foreclosure sale from taking place. A Chapter 13 case also forces lenders to accept overdue payments over time. In the case of a mortgage, the amount that is overdue is paid back over the life of the Chapter 13 plan. This can help a person pay back what is overdue and still be able to make their monthly mortgage payments.

Refusing a field sobriety test in Pennsylvania

Many people who are caught driving under the suspicion of alcohol consumption are asked to take a field sobriety test when they are pulled over. Most are unaware that this test is voluntary, and a party is not required to consent to it. However, if a party chooses to refuse, he or she should do so respectfully. Acting aggressively or out of control gives an officer reasonable suspicion of intoxication, and therefore can lead to arrest.

In the state of Pennsylvania, the only tests that are required by law for anyone under the suspicion of drunk driving are chemical blood tests. These are breath, blood, or urine tests. Refusal of these tests is not recommended, as it can lead to suspension of a driver's license for one year. However, there are no punishments for refusing a field sobriety test. While subjective in nature anyway, field sobriety tests are rarely passed by a party who is already under the suspicion of drunk driving. They are not scientific, and once failed, give an officer reason to go ahead and arrest for DUI.

You can rebuild credit after Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Because your debt situation has become so overwhelming, you may have found yourself considering bankruptcy. Even thinking about this option may have you feeling uneasy, but that feeling may come from misconceptions you could believe about this debt relief method. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can actually prove quite beneficial for individuals who qualify for and complete the process.

Of course, you may worry that your credit score will suffer irreparable damage because of a bankruptcy filing. While it is true that bankruptcy will lower your credit score, the fact of the matter remains that you likely do not have great credit anyway due to your accrued debts. Additionally, bankruptcy does not have to permanently lower your credit score, as multiple options exist for improving your score after completing bankruptcy.

The purpose and process of Chapter 7 bankruptcy

The main purpose of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to allow an individual debtor a "fresh start." This means that most debts will be discharged upon completion of the bankruptcy, with no remaining liability to the debtor. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Most taxes and student loan debts are non-dischargeable in any bankruptcy. There are a few instances in which these could be discharged, but it does not happen often, and requires special consideration before a bankruptcy judge. In addition, criminal fines and child support are also both non-dischargeable debts, without exception.

Unlike a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in which a debtor follows a plan and makes payments on his or her debts, a Chapter 7 does not require any payments other than on those debts for assets which the debtor intends to keep. This is called "reaffirming" a debt, and may only be considered if a debtor is current on payments for such account.

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