About Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Choosing to file for bankruptcy can often be a difficult decision to make. Debt is a difficult thing to handle, especially in this trying economy. Individuals who have too much debt may find it difficult to stay current on their payments, which in turn could lead to serious financial difficulties.

One way to help people get through such hardships is by filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy claim. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy claim can help you in a lot of ways, especially when you are already worrying about how to pay for the debts. Through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy claim, you are:

  • Protecting your properties from the creditors. Because you need transportation, housing, clothing, and other necessities to keep living, they can be protected from creditor collection, as dictated by the court.
  • Putting a stop to the harassment from creditors. The non-stop calling, emails, letters and threats of lawsuits can be stopped once the case has been filed in the court. Any creditor that tries to collect money from you or to repossess your property during the bankruptcy process can be held accountable for their actions.
  • Wiping out most debts, whether they are credit cards debts, medical debts, payday loans, or personal loans. You can start anew by filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy; these debts can be removed, as long as they are not secured by any collateral (car, electronics, and house).

There are many other benefits a person can get from filing a Chapter 7, so filing for bankruptcy should not be seen as a disaster. However, many people have had success avoiding bankruptcy and debt altogether by working with experienced financial planners who can help them effectively plan for their future and address their wealth management needs. By working with successful financial planning professionals, many individuals are able to avoid the frustrations that come along with a bankruptcy filing altogether.

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The Potential Dangers of Topamax

Topiramate , or Topamax as it is more commonly known, is a drug prescribed for epileptics and people suffering from serious migraines. It is manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, and is specifically intended to take away the pain and suffering caused by migraine attacks and seizures by repressing seizure and pain-causing signals coming from the nerves.

Topamax is proven to work more effectively than other brands in eliminating symptoms. Therefore, more and more patients and doctors came to prefer it over similar products. Research, however showed that Topamax can cause life changing or even deadly side-effects, specifically for unborn children whose mothers who took the drug during pregnancy. Some of the most common side-effects Topamax causes are cleft lip, cleft palate, and hypospadias, a defect that puts the urethra, the tube where urine passes from the bladder, at the underside of the male’s sexual organ.

Though Topamax continues to be available on the market, the US Food and Drug Administration released a statement in March 2011 which advised doctors to observe strict care when prescribing the drug. Despite the fact that Topamax side-effects can be medically treated and corrected, treatment will require time and is quite costly, issues that will surely put the child and his or her family in a difficult position. If not corrected, however, any of the side-effects can have significant consequences on the child’s health and well-being for the rest of their life.

Those who have had a child with a birth defect that may have been caused by the use of Topamax during pregnancy may be entitled to seek legal representation in order to pursue compensation from the manufacturers of this pharmaceutical product. Indeed, a Topamax lawsuit may be the best available option for families struggling to deal with these tragic consequences to get the financial assistance they need.

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Mineral Rights Disputes in Texas

There was a time in North Texas when buying real estate was pretty much cut and dried and on the level. Ironically, it is what is happening below the surface that is giving headaches to all parties involved in a real estate transaction. This is mainly because of mineral rights disputes, which elevates a domestic issue (buying a home) to commercial litigation over who owns who.

To understand why commercial litigation comes into the picture, it is necessary to understand the impact of the natural gas found in Barnett Shale, both in economic and real estate law terms. It will also explain why homeowners are now practicing rigorous due diligence when tracing the ownership of property they are considering buying.

Barnett Shale is the site of what is considered the largest reservoir of onshore natural gas in the US and is located under Fort Worth, Texas. The location of Barnett Shale, which is in urban areas such as Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, has necessitated the negotiating of mineral rights with landowners. It is possible for drilling operations to be done with minimum damage to the surface area (although not always), and the landowners are paid for the lease of the land as well as royalty for whatever a particular well produces. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, not really.

Mineral rights are not necessarily tied in with surface land ownership. This means that it is entirely possible for a parcel of land to have two owners: the surface land owner and the mineral rights owner. Prior to Barnett Shale, very little notice was given to tracing the ownership of mineral rights, which were often severed from the surface land title and not included when the surface land changed ownership. This can lead to mineral rights disputes. For example, let us say a surface land owner agrees to rent out the mineral rights to a mining company, presuming ownership of the mineral rights. And then the actual owner of the mineral rights disputes the contract. This can lead to a pretty heated commercial litigation, especially if the area turns out to be lucrative.

This state of affairs is by no means limited to North Texas, Barnett Shale or natural gas. Many parts of Texas have yielded commercially-viable deposits of coal, oil and other fuel sources, and have become the focus of mineral rights disputes.

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Multiple Vehicle Motorcycle Accident Statistics

A technical report commissioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and published in 1981 still mostly reflects the cause and effects of a multiple vehicle motorcycle accident today. Aptly named the Hurt Study (after head of the research team Harry Hurt, not as a reflection of the topic), the paper offered 53 insights into motorcycle accidents in general. Among these are interesting snippets including:

  • Only 2% of all motorcycle accidents were due to bad weather (probably because motorcyclists avoid going out then)
  • Most motorcycle accidents occur during short trips and near the starting travel point
  • Excessive speed was not a significant factor: median crash speed and pre-crash speed were 21.5 and 29.8 mph respectively
  • Nearly 50% of all motorcycle accidents are alcohol-related
  • A significant number of motorcyclists involved in accidents had no license or had a revoked license

It also included several observations on multiple vehicle incidents and the survival rate of motorcyclists involved in accidents. Some observations for multiple vehicle motorcycle accidents:

  • Comprising 75% of these motorcycle accidents, in most cases the other vehicle was a passenger vehicle
  • Drivers of the other vehicle impinged on the motorcycle right-of-way, causing approximately 66% of accidents
  • A majority of accidents occurred because the motorist did not see the motorcycle until it was too late, and most happened at intersections. The use of motorcycle headlights even during the day and wearing bright colors increased conspicuity of motorcycles and reduced the number of accidents significantly
  • Motorcycle riders involved in these types of accidents are at an extremely high risk of injury (98%), and the degree of severity increases exponentially with motorcycle size, speed of collision, alcohol consumption and lack of protective gear, especially a safety helmet

A motorcycle accident is bad enough, but when another larger vehicle is involved, the consequences can be deadly. If you were involved in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent motorist, you need to make sure you don’t just become a statistic.

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Trucking Statistics and New Laws to Improve Safety

Texas is criss-crossed by numerous major highways, with commercial trucks and 18-wheelers frequently traveling great distances through the state. Unfortunately, the statistics for an 18-wheeler accident is grim; over 98% results in at least one fatality. Not enough emphasis can be placed on ensuring road safety when it comes to operating big rigs because it is so often catastrophic for the other party. This is why there are so many rules governing commercial motor vehicles and why the penalties for non-compliance so stiff.

It has become even more rigorous as a new law comes into effect to further reduce the incidence of big rig accidents on US highways. The Moving Ahead for Progress for the 21st Century or MAP-21 was signed into law by President Obama on July 6, 2012. MAP-21 seeks to bolster the teeth of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in enforcing safety rules and regulations. Under MAP-21, several carriers have been given cease and desist orders for failing to comply with the FMCSA regulations. This has made the message to other carriers loud and clear that the government is determined to reduce the number of unfit CMVs and incompetent CMV drivers operating on American highways.

MAP-21 supports the FMCSA strategic framework for improving CMV safety through the following core principles:

  • Raise the thresholds for entry into the CMV industry
  • Require CMV carriers and drivers to comply with safety standards or cease operations
  • Weed out carriers whose CMVs fail to meet safety standards, and CMV drivers who are incompetent and unfit to travel on US roads

MAP-21 went into effect on October 1, 2012, and provides more funds for the FMCSA to implement its Highway Safety Improvement Program which focuses on infrastructure safety and safety programs to reduce 18-wheeler accident and highway fatality statistics.

The aggressive campaign to prevent highway accidents is laudable, but there are always those who slip through the cracks. If you suffered injuries in an 18-wheeler accident and you believe it was due to negligence, it is your duty to file a suit against the driver and carrier to discourage such behavior. An experienced truck accident lawyer can be an invaluable ally if you decide to take legal action. Taking legal action may also make the FMCSA stand up and notice, and properly sanction the parties responsible.

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