Medical Expenses Are a Major Contributor to Bankruptcy

It is not a coincidence that medical expenses are one of the primary reasons Virginians file bankruptcy.  Medical costs are out of control.  Very few uninsured Virginians can afford to pay for a hospitalization or treatment of a chronic condition out of pocket.

Many of my personal injury clients have over $100,000 in medical expenses.  All it takes is a couple days in the hospital following an auto accident and bills can easily climb into six figures. The truth is that hospitals and doctors rarely collect what they charge unless the patient is uninsured and has a personal injury claim.  If the patient has health insurance, you can guarantee that the insurance company has negotiated rates as low as 25% of the actual charge.  Yet for the uninsured they are expected to pay the health care provider back in full.  Absent a personal injury claim, the patient may be forced to file bankruptcy.

If the patient was treated for a personal injury in Virginia the health care provider can assert a lien on the settlement.  If the patient was treated at VCU, UVA or another state facility, the provider has a lien of 100% of the charges even though they would never have been reimbursed dollar for dollar if the patient was insured.  Private hospitals have a lien of $2500 and physicians in private practice have a lien of $750.

If you are uninsured and have been injured in an accident in Virginia, you are probably being hounded by debt collectors.  It is important to consider all of your options including filing a personal injury claim and contacting an experienced consumer lawyer.

Attorney Josh Silverman is a good friend and colleague of Jason Krumbein.  Josh is a solo practitioner at the Silverman Law Firm LC in Richmond, Virginia.  Josh focuses his practice on representing victims of personal injuries in Virginia due to automobile accidents, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, and defective products.  For more information about Josh Silverman please visit his website at www.joshsilvermanlaw.com or call him at (804) 325-4992. 

Credit Cards After Bankruptcy – 4 Things To Remember Before You Take The Plunge

credit cards after bankruptcyMost of my bankruptcy clients come to me with one goal, and it’s not to get out of debt.  Sure, that may be the immediate desire but it’s not the first thing that comes out of their mouths when asked.

And every time I hear it, I die a little inside.

What is this yearning?  It is this: to get back their good credit.  And with that comes the question of when credit cards become available after bankruptcy.

As if a good credit score makes you a good person, and a bad score is the proverbial scarlet letter.

Let’s take a step back and think about why you should rethink your dream of getting new credit cards after your bankruptcy is over.

Remember What Brought You To Me

You didn’t come to a bankruptcy lawyer because you were flush with cash and having a great time of things.  You made the move because you were neck-deep in debt to big-money corporations that didn’t care whether you fed your kids or not.  They wanted their pound of flesh no matter what.

After bankruptcy, you’re going to be free of those sharks once and for all.  You’re not going to be subject to the phone calls, letters and constant threat of legal action.  Why walk back into that situation?

Expect The Unexpected

I know you’re not planning on letting it get out of hand again like you did the first time.  Then again, you didn’t plan on getting in over your head the first time either.

The unexpected happens.  Job loss.  Illness.  The shuffling of family lives.  The car breaks down and you need a new one.  It’s part of life.

After bankruptcy, you may not have the ability to file again depending on a variety of circumstances.  If you’ve amassed one or two credit cards after bankruptcy, paying those debts may prove more difficult than you can manage.  If that happens, you could end up looking at the inside of the bankruptcy court again.

Good Credit = Good Debt

Good credit means only that you pay your debts on time.  Without debt, you don’t have a good credit score but you actually have money.

Debt is nothing more than money slavery because you’re going to work each day for Capital One (or Chase, or Citi, or … well, you get the point) rather than for yourself.  When you pay your credit cards after bankruptcy, the resulting good score will serve only as an acknowledgement that you’ve dutifully re-joined the ranks of the millions of Americans who don’t get the benefit of their own paycheck each week.

Hell Bent On New Plastic?

Yes, you can get credit cards after bankruptcy.  Some will be better than others, and a few will offer terms so bad it would make Dr. Melfi’s most famous patient proud.

After bankruptcy, those credit cards will come calling.  Offers will flood your mailbox like greeting cards on a major holiday.

Please, do me a favor – rip them up.

Jay S. Fleischman is a lawyer who helps people fight back against harassing bill collectors after bankruptcy.  

Image credit: richard ling