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Scura Wigfield Heyer & Stevens Blog

How is liability determined in a pedestrian accident?

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  • November
    2014

Every day, many residents of New Jersey head outdoors to take a simple walk. Whether it is in a residential area or in a city, walking could save time and money while also providing a form of exercise. Although there are many benefits to walking instead of driving, there is also the risk that a pedestrian could be struck by a motor vehicle traveling nearby.

When a pedestrian accident occurs, there is a high chance that the person struck will be seriously injured. This is why it is important to establish cause, so fault can be assigned. However, this leads some to question how liability is determined in an auto-pedestrian crash.

Eight injured in a bus crash on New Jersey Turnpike

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  • November
    2014

Residents in New Jersey often rely on public transportation to get to their destination. Whether they are traveling to work, school, the store or home, public transportation is both affordable and easily assessable. Although there are several benefits to this form of transportation, there are some risks. Because these modes of transportation, such as a bus or a subway, do not contain safety restraints, if an accident were to occur, multiple injuries could result.

Authorities in Newark were recently dispatched to the accident site involving a New Jersey Transit bus and a military vehicle. According to preliminary reports, the accident occurred on the New Jersey Turnpike at around 12:30 p.m. While en route to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, the bus was struck by a military vehicle.

Completing credit counseling and debt education during bankruptcy

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  • November
    2014

When debt becomes overwhelming, individuals in New Jersey should understand that they have real options to address their financial problems. In some cases, personal bankruptcy might be their best option. The decision to file for bankruptcy is never an easy one to make. Although the process could result in debt relief, those choosing this method to take care of all or most of their debt should understand all the steps involved in the process so they can have a full picture of their situation and how it could impact them in the future.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, those filing for bankruptcy must file a certificate that indicates the individual completed credit counseling. This must be approved before the process can be initiated. In addition, when the debtor has completed their filing, they must also show evidence that they completed a debtor education program.

Additional Requirements for Chapter 11 Debtor: Initial Debtor Interview

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  • November
    2014

In Chapter 11 cases, a debtor not only must attend a Creditors' Meeting, but it must also attend an Initial Debtor Interview ("IDI). The United States trustee conducts initial debtor interviews following the filing of a petition under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code. The purpose of the interview is to review the debtor's financial condition the duties and responsibilities of the debtor and the debtor's likelihood of reorganization.

In addition to the requirements of § 1116(1), the debtor must submit the following:

1. Proof of insurance.

2. A copy of the last to file federal and state income tax returns for the debtor.

3. A copy of the most recent detailed trial balance and general ledger.

4. A copy of the debtor's bank statements and check register for the last three months prior to the filing date.

5. The most recently prepared financial statements.

6. The most recently filed payroll and sales tax returns.

7. Proof of establishment of a new DIP bank account.

8. Proof of closure of the prepetition bank accounts.

9. A 12 month cash flow projection.

10. A copy of the current liquor license certificate, if applicable.

What constitutes creditor harassment?

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  • November
    2014

The stress of debt often keeps individuals in a constant state of anxiety, especially when they fear debt collectors will continue to contact them about the debts they owe. While debt collection is a common factor when individuals or families in New Jersey are behind on their credit card bills and other bills, it is important to understand when creditors overstep their bounds. With regards to the practices of creditors to collect debts, what constitutes creditor harassment?

The Federal Trade Commission enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which was passed to prevent unfair, deceptive and abusive practices carried out by debt collectors. While a debt collector is authorized to seek payment of credit cards, auto loans, medical bills and mortgages, they are not authorized to contact a debtor whenever and wherever they want to collect these debts. If they contact a debtor at inconvenient times and place, these could fall under the category of creditor harassment.

'Zombie' foreclosures surging in New Jersey

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  • November
    2014

When it comes to financial issues, dealing with even small monetary troubles could be very problematic and life-impacting. If these issues are not properly addressed, they could lead to bigger issues that are even more challenging to overcome. In some cases, this could mean losing important items and belongings such as an automobile or even a home. When a homeowner faces foreclosure, this event could cause the individual or their family to take action. However, some actions towards foreclosure could lead to more issues and could make it even more challenging to fight the foreclosure of their home.

A "zombie" foreclosure occurs when the owner of the property leaves their home prior to the bank taking possession of it. While zombie foreclosures have been on the decline, recent reports indicated that there has been an increase in 60 metro areas, affecting 16 states. While the national trend has been showing a decline in these types of foreclosure properties, the state of New Jersey experienced a surged of zombie foreclosures in the third-quarter. Year-over-year, this amounted to a 75 percent increase.

Which Courthouse Will a New Jersey Bankruptcy Case be Assigned to?

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  • November
    2014

When most peolpe think of going to court, they think of the local courthouse located in the county in which they reside. Bankrutpcy is a federal matter, however, and not heard in the state courts. Bankruptcy proceedings are administered by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey. Courthouses are located in Newark, Trenton, and Camden.

Which one of these three a particular case will be heard is determined by local court rule D.N.J. LBR 1073-1(b):

A petition commencing a case shall be filed in the vicinage in which the debtor resides if the debtor is an individual, or in which the debtor has its principal place of business within the District if the debtor is an entity other than an individual.

The Bankrutpcy Court's website has a listing of the towns that fall within each vicinage.

Learning how to control credit card debt

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  • November
    2014

It is not uncommon for individuals and families to utilize credit cards. In some cases, this practice could be fairly beneficial for them, but if credit cards are not used properly, this could lead to major financial and life hardships. Residents in New Jersey understand that accumulating credit card debt could be a reason that financial problems occur. However, in some situations, the individual might not have any other option than to rack up a high credit card bill.

Whether an individual has a lot or a little credit card debt, it is never too late to learn how to deal with this type of debt and getting it under control. According to a study in 2012, the average household in the United States had nearly $15,950 in credit card debt, running the interest rates in the mid to high teens. While it has been told that some debt is good, such as obtaining a credit card to establish credit, some debt can be very bad. Over-consuming could lead to not being able to pay off the monthly bill, causing it to continually increase.

Property Insurance in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

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  • November
    2014

If you are filing a chapter 13 bankruptcy, it is important that you have up to date insurance on any properties that you own.  The chapter 13 trustee will likely move to dismiss your bankruptcy case if property owned by the debtor is not insured.  Insurance can be obtained fairly simply and you will simply need to show the trustee a declaration of insurance to evidence that the property is insured. Obtaining insurance prior to bankruptcy on all your property can eliminate this issue from the equation and help to streamline the bankruptcy process.

Contact a Lawyer

If you are considering bankruptcy, contact a lawyer so you can be guided accordingly as to what your options are and what option is best for you. The bankruptcy process can be difficult to navigate, so it is important that you have someone representing you who is familiar with the process to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Understanding problematic mortgage loans in New Jersey

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  • November
    2014

Facing the loss of their home is not an event New Jersey residents seek to face, but it is one that some encounter when they fall behind on mortgage payments. Our firm understands that facing foreclosure is a major event that could change the life of the individual as well as their loved ones. While financial challenges could be to blame for the situation, there are several reasons that could lead to the foreclosure of a home. Understanding how the situation occurred could help individuals and families address the situation and could even stop foreclosure.

One reason for foreclosure to occur is problematic mortgage loans. This could occur when the payments start out low then suddenly must be paid off with a 'balloon payment'. In other situations, this means the loan adjusts with the changing prime interest rates, but this could mean one's monthly payment soars beyond their ability to pay them.

Scura, Mealey, Wigfield & Heyer, L.L.P. Attorneys at Law

John Scura of Scura, Wigfield, Heyer & Stevens, LLP, serves clients in New Jersey communities including Wayne, Hoboken, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, Edison, Camden, Clifton, Passaic, East Orange, Newark, Union City, Bayonne, Irvington, North Bergen, West New York, Bloomfield, Paramus, Fair Lawn, Ridgewood, Saddle Brook, River Edge, Emerson, Englewood, Ramsey, Tenafly, Glen Rock, Teaneck, and Hackensack, and in counties including Bergen County, Essex County, Middlesex County, Hudson County, Union County, Passaic County, and Morris County.

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