Bankruptcy Lawyer: When to Hire One
If you are having difficulties with finances and are considering debt consolidation or bankruptcy, you may also be considering hiring a bankruptcy lawyer. Of course for those who are in a financial rut or on the verge of financial ruin, coming up with extra funds to pay a bankruptcy lawyer can be downright impossible. Despite the shortage of money, it is often best to still consider at least consulting with a bankruptcy lawyer before you begin the process.
The main purpose of a bankruptcy lawyer is to help an individual or business go through the legal procedures for filing bankruptcy. Lawyers are meant to help deal with creditors, meet with the court systems to set up payment plans or repayment programs, gather together and liquidate assets, and fill out and file necessary paperwork. Just as a realtor would be the knowledgeable party in the selling or buying of a home, a bankruptcy lawyer will be that knowledgeable source during a bankruptcy proceeding.
In most state and county legal systems, you are not required to have a bankruptcy lawyer for the legal proceedings. This does not always mean it is wise to do without a bankruptcy lawyer, though, as most specialize in just financial law. Unless the court case would be easily cut and dry or you already know a great deal about the legal system in this case, a bankruptcy lawyer can help from becoming overwhelmed with the legalities of the system.
From the start, a good bankruptcy lawyer should help you to determine which chapter of bankruptcy to file and will offer sound reasons why. If you don?t know anything about the different chapters, this is an excellent reason to begin consulting a lawyer. Many lawyers will even offer a free consultation where you can simply claim the advice and move on to take care of the remainder of the case yourself. Often, though, lawyers will charge by visit or by activity, such as appearing at the courthouse or filing paperwork.
Keep in mind that not all bankruptcy lawyers specialize in the same type of cases, so it is important to find a lawyer who can help you with the type of financial difficulties you are having. Some bankruptcy lawyers work specifically with businesses, while others work solely with individuals. Having a good experience with your lawyer will undoubtedly include finding someone knowledgeable in the areas you need expertise.
Another excellent reason to consider hiring a bankruptcy lawyer is simply to have someone knowledgeable who can help guide you through the paperwork process. In bankruptcy cases the paperwork is the most overwhelming aspect and more often than not, bankruptcy lawyers will actually fill out and file all of the paperwork for you. This takes away the burden of dealing with paperwork in the middle of a financially and emotionally straining time.
If you decide that hiring a bankruptcy lawyer is right for you, ask the local court house for names of lawyers in the area. You may also want to consider asking trusted friends or family advice for finding bankruptcy lawyers. If all else fails, take advantage of technology and research cases in your area to see which bankruptcy lawyers most often represent individuals or businesses. This is a great way to determine who the best lawyers are for your financial needs.
This article courtesy of http://www.mentzlaw.com.
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* Government Statistics on Legal Verdicts and Jury Awards - $ U.S. district courts terminated approximately 512,000 civil cases during fiscal years 2002-03. Nearly 20% or 98,786 of these cases were torts in which plaintiffs claimed injury, loss, or damage from a defendant’s negligent or intentional acts. $ Of the 98,786 tort cases terminated in U.S. district courts in 2002-03, about 2% or 1,647 cases were decided by a bench or jury trial. $ An estimated 9 out of 10 tort trials involved personal injury issues C most frequently, product liability, motor vehicle (accident), marine, and medical malpractice cases. $ Juries decided about 71% of all tort cases brought to trial in U.S. district courts; judges adjudicated the remaining 29%. $ Plaintiffs won in 48% of tort trials terminated in U.S. district courts in 2002-03. Plaintiffs won less frequently in medical malpractice (37%) and product liability (34%) trials. $ Eighty-four percent of plaintiff winners received monetary damages with an estimated median award of $201,000. $ Plaintiffs won more often in bench (54%) than in jury (46%) tort trials. The estimated median damage awards were higher in jury ($244,000) than in bench ($150,000) tort trials.
April 2006 - A Jury in New Jersey found last week that Vioxx significantly contributed to a 77-year-old man's heart attack awarded him $9 million in punitive damages yesterday, raising Merck & Co.'s liability in the case to $13.5 million and intensifying pressure on it to settle such lawsuits.
Example of Personal Injury Case 2004 : Ford Explorer rollover-prone and roof not crash safe and worthy- CASE TYPE : Product Design Defect, Auto Truck Vehicle - SUV,
Motor Vehicle – Rollover CASE : Buell-Wilson v. Ford Motor Co., San Diego Co.,
Calif., Super. Ct. GIC 800836 Los Angeles, Calif.
JURY VERDICT: $369,000,000 (369 Millions Dolalrs
2005 - In what may be one of the biggest massive medical malpractice tort verdicts in the state of Texas, a state jury awarded $606 million - including a remarkable $ 600 million dollars in punitive damages - to the family of an 82-year-old patient who had cancer and then who died after receiving an overdose of chemotherapy drugs.
2005 - In the 9th big loss for Ford in SUV Explorer rollover cases, a Florida jury awarded $61.2 million to the parents of an 18-year-old boy who was killed in a 1997 (wrongful death & Product Defect and Product Liability Issues)
Example of Personal Injury Lawyer Case 2004 : Dodge Caravan seatback collapsed on baby in a car-seat - CASE TYPE : Automobiles, Products Liability -
Product Design Defect, Wrongful Death, Motor Vehicle -
Rear-ender, Motor Vehicle - Passenger, Motor Vehicle - Minivan
CASE : Flax v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., Davidson Co., Tenn., Cir. Ct. O2C-1288
JURY VERDICT : $105,500,000 (105 Million Dollars
2005 – Billion Dollar Verdicts - In one of 2005's largest verdicts to an individual plaintiff regarding financial fraud , a Florida jury ordered Morgan Stanley Broker Dealer to pay $1.45 billion to investor Ronald O. Perelman for defrauding him in the sale of his camping gear company - Coleman.
2005 - February, a prominent Houston law firm and a Texas bank were SMACKED and Beaten with a $65.5 million verdict in a highly complex estate planning case that involved major problems and conflicts of interest. (65 million dollar jury award)
2005 – 3 years after a jury acquitted a company in Florida of manslaughter and criminal charges, a Florida civil jury SLAMMED the outdoor advertiser with a $65 million jury award verdict for the shock and electrocution of a sixth-grade boy.
Age Discrimination - In December, a Los Angeles California jury found that PrivatAir - an aviation company focusing on private airline services - wrongfully fired Captain Doyle D. Baker on the basis of his age, defaming him in the termination process and causing extreme emotional distress.
Punitive damages serve a number of important functions which—despite a few horror stories, which are themselves either apocryphal or overturned in the courts, the functions remain valid and in the public interest. Persons causing great harm—persons deliberately or with gross negligence causing great harm should not view paying damages as merely a cost of doing business, a cost that might fit neatly into a risk analysis of wrongdoing. That is what happened in the Ford Pinto case in which the cost of paying claims to victims of a known deadly hazard was deemed less than the cost to retool the assembly line, and thus the hazard was maintained knowing full well that further people—more people would be injured or killed.
This is the purpose of punitive damages, to punish this kind of egregious wrongdoing, and to deter, to be a deterrent to such conduct. It is not immediately clear why a deterrent—or the necessity of the deterrent should bear any great relationship to the amount of actual damages in a given case. There is nothing wrong and indeed something highly desirable in maintaining this disincentive to wrongdoing in an appropriate relationship to the harm and the conduct of the tort-feasor. This trend has led one commentator to suggest that ''[p]unitive damages have replaced baseball as our national sport.'' Theodore B. Olson, Rule of Law: The Dangerous National Sport of Punitive Damages, Wall St. J., Oct. 5, 1994, at A17. See also Malcolm E. Wheeler, A Proposal for Further Common Law Development of the Use of Punitive Damages in Modern Products Liability Litigation, 40 Ala. L. Rev. 919, 919 (1989) (''Today, hardly a month goes by without a multimillion-dollar punitive damages verdict in a product liability case.'').