Back To School: Bankruptcy Educational Requirements

If your financial situation has worsened and you are thinking about declaring bankruptcy, you should know that there are some additional requirements that attempt to ensure that you learn from your financial mistakes. Read on to learn more about these classes that you must take before you can get your bankruptcy finalized.


The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 was a powerful bit of legislation aimed at preventing people from having to declare bankruptcy again and again. These education requirements sought to inform consumers about using credit more wisely in the future, budgeting, and more.

The Credit Counseling Class

The first requirement is actually a method of qualifying for debt relief. You must show, by preparing a budget that details your present financial situation, that you have absolutely no other options but to declare bankruptcy. A credit counseling agency must evaluate your budget and ascertain if there is any way for you to improve your financial situation without filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy. If the agency determines that you could actually pay your debts without declaring bankruptcy, given your income, then you must be able to refute that by showing that the agency’s recommendations won’t work in your case.

This class can be taken within the 180 days before you file for bankruptcy and is available online, in person, and even over the phone. You must have the class completion certificate in hand to file for bankruptcy, and it must accompany the bankruptcy petition. This “class” does have a fee, but it is based on your income and is free for those who fall under a given income level.

The Personal Finance Class

The second required class focuses more on the financial education aspect, with instruction in budget preparation, using credit wisely, saving for a “rainy day,” and more. You have 45 days to complete this class after your creditor’s meeting, and the proof of attendance must be filed with the bankruptcy courts. You can expect to spend about 2 hours taking this class, and the fee for this class is also based on your income. You can take the personal finance class in person, online, or through the mail. Unlike the Credit Counseling class, you are allowed to choose your own class provider, but it must be on the list of the Justice Department’s approved agencies.

To learn more about fulfilling these educational requirements, speak with a bankruptcy attorney like Thomas A Blake.

Learn More

When Your Business Is Sued: Understanding False Advertising And Customer Compensation

If you find your business on the defensive end of a lawsuit, it’s time to consult with an attorney that can help. Anyone with some time on their hands can file a lawsuit against your company, and this means you may end up in court for any number of reasons. If you have a customer claiming that you advertised a service or product and made false claims, it’s possible that they have a viable lawsuit. The customer will have to prove that they have suffered a financial loss because of the advertising, and not simply be irritated that they thought they got a bargain when they didn’t. Marketing for your business can be tricky, and angry customers can decide to file a lawsuit to address sketchy advertising.

When You Stretch the Truth About a Product

An easy way to understand false advertising is when you consider a hair loss prevention product. If the product claims that you will once again grow hair on your head after a set amount of days, and no hair grows, you can claim that the advertising was false. While many people realize that the claims made by product manufacturers are often exaggerated, the customer has a potential claim that they can pursue. The problem with a lawsuit is that the customer is only out the cost of the product, a sum that is generally not worth filing a lawsuit over. When the manufacturer offers a full refund if not satisfied, this negates the need to file a false advertising lawsuit.

If the Customer Loses Substantial Money

In the event you are selling a high-end product and you lie in the advertising, you may be sued by customers because of this. For example, if you sell a $10,000, “authentic, diamond and gold ring”, and the buyer discovers it’s a cubic zirconia, you can be sued for false advertising. It will be worth the legal costs to sue your company for $10,000, and the customer may also be able to get legal fees awarded in the process.

The bottom line is there must be a financial loss when it comes to making false claims about your product. This is why it’s important to avoid advertising that can be misleading to consumers. It isn’t against the law to describe a product in grand terms, as long as you offer a refund to customers if they are not satisfied. For more information and advice on how to avoid lawsuits, contact a lawyer at a law firm such as Vandeventer Black LLP.

Learn More

3 Uncommon Effects Of A Whiplash Injury

A sudden and violent back and forth jerking motion of your head and neck sustained during an auto accident may result in a whiplash injury, which can lead to severe neck pain and decreased range of motion. While these are the most common effects of a whiplash injury, other, less common symptoms can occur, which can be either temporary or permanent.

If you sustain permanent injuries related to these less common whiplash symptoms, your physician and auto accident attorney can help you determine if you should go forward with legal action. Here are three rare complications of whiplash and what you can do about them:

Blurred Vision

If you develop blurred or diminished vision after sustaining a whiplash injury, you may have damaged your optic nerve. Severe head and neck injuries can sometimes affect one or more of your cranial nerves, including your optic nerve, which is the nerve responsible for visual function.

Your optic nerve may become inflamed or permanently damaged in a car accident. If the nerve is merely inflamed, corticosteroid medications or anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen may help diminish the swelling. When optic nerve swelling subsides, your vision may return to normal. If, however, the nerve was severely damaged, you may need to see an eye surgeon, who will evaluate your vision and develop an effective treatment plan.

Urinary Incontinence

While rare, urinary and even bowel incontinence can develop after sustaining a whiplash injury. Incontinence means that you are unable to control the function of your bladder or bowels. This can lead to the involuntary release of urine or stool. A severe whiplash injury can sometimes lead to spinal cord damage, and if this happens, the structures that innervate your urinary and gastrointestinal system may not function properly.

If you are unable to control your bladder or bowel function after sustaining a head or neck injury, see your doctor. You may be referred to a urologist, a gastroenterologist, or a neurologist, who will determine if you have permanent nerve damage.

Electrical stimulators can sometimes help those affected by spinal cord damage or those who have sustained damaged to the nerves of the bladder and bowel. If you have become permanently incontinent as a result of an auto accident, you may be entitled to receiving monetary damages for your pain, suffering, and future medical care. 

Hearing Loss

Just as a whiplash injury can affect the optic nerve, it can also cause damage to another cranial nerve known as the auditory vestibular nerve. If this nerve becomes inflamed or damaged as a result of an auto accident, you may develop severe vertigo, spinning sensations, and hearing loss.

Symptoms will generally subside if the nerve is only temporarily inflamed, but permanent deafness, nausea, vomiting, and intense dizziness may occur if auditory vestibular nerve damage is permanent. Antihistamines can help relieve vertigo and vomiting caused by this type of nerve damage, but they may not be appropriate for long-term use. An ear specialist or neurologist can determine if the damage is permanent so that an effective treatment program can be initiated.

If you were in a car accident and sustained a whiplash injury, contact an auto accident attorney to determine if you should proceed with litigation. If so, your physician and legal team will develop a medical and legal defense that will help you receive monetary damages for your long-term injuries and future health care as deemed appropriate. 

For more information, try clicking here.

Learn More

Fortune-Tellers Beware : How To Foresee Legal Trouble In Your Future

If you’re a psychic, spiritualist, or fortune-teller, you’re probably used to people being skeptical of your talents. However, you may not realize that you could also be breaking the law. If you offer services as a fortune-teller, psychic, medium, clairvoyant, Tarot reader, or something similar, this is what you should know.

A few frauds make it hard for people trying to offer a legitimate service.

Many psychics offer a legitimate service and consider their talents to be spiritual gifts. They claim the right to make a living with their talents the way anyone else might. An entire community of psychics and clairvoyants exists in Lily Dale, New York, where gifted spiritualists ply their trade. A few fortune-tellers honestly admit that they are only offering readings for “entertainment purposes only.” 

However, because practices are so varied and a lot of the benefits of visiting a psychic are intangible, the industry is an easy target for con artists. For example, a recent case in New York involved a “psychic” who convinced a woman that her marital problems were the result of a demon that was inside her. She ultimately swindled the woman out of more than $60,000 for her services. In a similar case, a Florida woman was convicted of operating a far-flung network of fraudulent fortune-tellers and psychics. They succeeded in bilking various clients, including well-known novelist Jude Deveraux, of at least $17.8 million.

Cases like those, unfortunately, cast people who are legitimately trying to provide a service with their talents in a bad light. Lawmakers often react with laws designed to prevent fraud, but they can also hamper people who offer legitimate services as well.

Check your state and local laws before you open shop.

Before you open up shop, check your local laws and regulations. With all the negative attention on fortune-telling and similar spiritual services, don’t rely on your understanding of what the regulations have been in the past. For example, in Salem, Massachusetts, fortune-tellers now have to be residents for at least 12 months and pay a $50 licensing fee. Your license to practice can be revoked if you have significant complaints lodged against you. In some areas, you have to not only pay a licensing fee but also pass a criminal background check and be fingerprinted in order to practice. 

In some areas, laws exist that make all fortune-telling illegal, but they may be rarely enforced. Fortune telling is illegal in the state of New York, but psychics and fortune-tellers routinely operate in the open in places like Lily Dale and New York City. Just know that if you choose to operate outside the law, you could face potential problems down the line.

You should also be cautious about offering guarantees for your work. It’s generally wiser to be clear that, while your belief in your abilities is genuine, you cannot guarantee any specific results when working with the supernatural world.

Contact an attorney at the first sign of trouble.

Regulating a supernatural industry is difficult, but the most common charge brought against fortune-tellers is theft by deception. That’s essentially using a lie to induce someone to turn over money or property to you. If you work with others, you may also be charged with conspiracy to defraud another. These are serious charges that can result in years of jail time and fines, as demonstrated by the cases mentioned above. If you’ve been arrested or believe that you will be, it’s important to contact a criminal defense attorney, such as those found at Abom & Kutulakis LLP, as soon as possible to discuss your case.

Learn More

Classes To Take Before You Apply To Become A Private Investigator

When you become a private investigator, you’ll go through an extensive training program that will teach you the ins and the outs of this compelling profession. If you’ve made the effort to take some related classes before filing your application, however, you’ll show yourself as someone who is keen on getting the job — and you’ll be on the right path for succeeding in this world. Even if you have a law enforcement background, which is often the case with reputable private investigators, the following classes can boost your value to the agency you’re applying to.

Photography Classes

Much of what you’ll do as a private investigator involves photography. If you’ve been hired by a company to identify whether an employee on medical leave is gaming the system, you’ll need to take photos; if you’ve been hired by a married person to determine whether his or her spouse is being faithful, photos will be integral. This means that you’ll be working with high-end camera gear, which might present a learning curve for you upon being hired. Taking a course at your local camera shop or even a community college can help you get comfortable with the settings on SLR cameras so that you can take sharp, professional-quality photos in a variety of environments, including low-light situations.

Driving Classes

You’ll spend a lot of time behind the wheel of your car as a private investigator, and will often need to follow someone you’re observing in a vehicle. Taking some driving classes simply boosts your aptitude behind the wheel. While you’ll learn things such as accident avoidance, you’ll also polish your skills for driving in inclement weather — this can help you drive safely in the snow, for example, and avoid losing a target just because you’re uncomfortable driving when the roads are slippery. Additionally, you’ll improve your aptitude for things such as parallel parking, which you may need to do quickly when the target you’re following parks and begins to travel on foot.

Fitness Classes

Private investigators should have a high degree of physical fitness. Although you won’t be physically confronting a target in the same manner as law enforcement officers do, you’ll often be tasked with following someone on foot. If the person you’re following is physically fit and maintains a quick walking pace, you can’t afford to let your fitness limitations allow the person to get away. Taking some fitness classes at your local gym can help you lose weight, gain muscle, and improve your cardiovascular endurance.

For more information, contact a company like Blue Systems International.

Learn More

Tips For Getting Your Workers Compensation Benefits

Workers compensation laws are in place to ensure that you are reimbursed for lost wages and medical expenses if you suffer an on-the-job injury. Yet, the insurance companies responsible for paying out your compensation will often look for any reason to deny your claim. The following tips can help you avoid issues with your claim so the insurance company will have to pay.

Tip #1: Report the injury correctly

Make a point of reporting any injury, no matter how slight, to your immediate supervisor. You should also make the report in writing. Using a medium that gives you access to delivery information and copy of the report, such as email, can be helpful if your company doesn’t provide report forms. The reason for these reports is simple – most states require that injuries be reported within a certain time frame or benefits don’t have to be paid. Reporting immediately is the best way to ensure you don’t miss the reporting window.

Tip #2: Make sure it’s medically documented

You need to seek medical treatment in order to place a claim. You may have to go to a company-approved doctor unless you need emergency treatment, so verify the requirements with your human resources department. Then, when you are with the doctor, make sure you fully explain how the injury occurred and how it is affecting you so that the doctor can record the information correctly. These medical reports can be an important factor when the insurance company is deciding on your claim.

Tip #3: Fill out an accident report correctly

All too often employers try to get the accident report filled out immediately, but this can be detrimental to your case. Make sure you have been treated and that you have a clear head (both from pain and from medication) before you fill it out. You want to make sure you record the details factually and make no errors on this form. Any inconsistencies between this form and medical reports can be used against you, even if the issue was just a minor mistake.

Tip #4: Follow the treatment plan

Finally, make sure you follow the doctor’s prescribed treatment plan completely. If you miss appointments or go back to work before you should, the insurance company will use this information in an attempt to prove your injuries aren’t severe enough to warrant compensation.

For more help, contact a workers compensation lawyer in your area immediately or visit a website like

Learn More

3 Reasons To Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer After Your Dog Has Bitten Someone

One of the most common cases that a personal injury lawyer will deal with is a dog bite case, mostly because of the many ways in which he or she can help you protect yourself and your dog. This is vital as you can be subjected to a massive lawsuit or have to put your dog down if he or she has bitten someone and you do not have a proper defense. Listed below are three ways that a lawyer can help you with a dog bite case.

The Individual Was Trespassing

One of the main ways that a lawyer can help you avoid having to put your dog down is by attempting to show that the person who was bitten was actually trespassing on your property. This can apply if the person was jumping over your fence, crossing your property uninvited, or was breaking into your home. The key point to remember here is that this defense only works if trespassing was indeed occurring and that you did not invite the individual onto your property. 

The Individual Was Provoking The Dog

Another defense that a lawyer can use to protect you and your dog is to show that the person who was bitten was tormenting the dog in some way. For example, if an individual was constantly teasing, harming, or annoying your dog, then a court may decide that the dog reacted normally in order to get the torment to stop when he or she lashed out. Other types of provocation can include accidental provocation, such as stepping on the dog while he or she was asleep and startling him or her awake or surprising the dog with a loud noise nearby.

The Individual Ignored Warnings

Finally, one of the most common defenses when your dog has bitten someone is to show that the bitten person ignored multiple warnings to leave the dog alone. This can apply if you were out walking your dog and told an approaching individual not to pet the dog, but he or she approached anyway and got bitten. However, this approach will only work if you had your dog properly leashed. 

Contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your dog has bitten someone in order to discuss the strength of your case and the options that are available to you. A personal injury lawyer can help by attempting to show that the bitten individual was trespassing, provoking the dog, or ignored warnings to stay away from the dog. Check out a law firm like Hornthal Riley Ellis & Maland LLP to consult with a lawyer.

Learn More