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Getting the Insurance You Need in the Bethlehem and Greater Pennsylvania Areas

Most people are aware of certain types of insurance they need, such as auto insurance to keep their car on the road or homeowner’s insurance to protect their property in the event of a disaster. However, there are many more types of insurance available than the majority of people realize. 

It’s an unfortunate reality that there is no way to predict the problems that can arise in our lives. This is more evident than ever with the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals lost their jobs, suffered illness and even lost their lives unexpectedly in the span of just a few short months. Many have now had to seek free online legal advice in Pennsylvania as a necessary means of understanding what recourse they have after a job loss, wage loss and sudden medical debt.

Seeking the Help of a Qualified Agency

Having proper insurance coverage offers protection from everyday occurrences such as motor vehicle accidents or slips and falls around the house. It also ensures you have what you need to rebuild if your home is damaged in the event of a natural disaster and it can protect your family even if the unthinkable happens. 

However, one issue that many individuals face is not understanding precisely what protections they need in place and what policies will work best for them given their financial situation, what property they own and other issues they may face. This is why working with a reputable agency such as State Farm in Bethlehem, PA is often ideal.

A qualified, experienced agent can give you the help you need in navigating your personal situation and determining the insurance that will offer you the optimal protection. For some, this may be as simple as having auto insurance, a homeowner’s insurance policy and nothing more. Others may need more complex plans and policies – for example, life insurance that will offer their family assistance in the event of their passing. 

Those who aren’t quite sure what they need or who just want to ask a few simple questions to get started may consider getting free online legal advice in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Local lawyers and agents are available to assist right now.

What if I Can’t Get Insurance?

When it comes to insurance issues, one of the more challenging situations you might face is if you are unable to purchase a standard policy. One common example of this is what occurs when an individual is categorized as a high-risk driver. Incidents that may lead to a driver being categorized as high-risk include:

  • Driving while uninsured without paying for accidents or injuries
  • Drivers who have unsatisfied judgments
  • Drivers who are under mandatory insurance supervision
  • Drivers with three or more convictions for insurance violations

In these instances, that individual will need to carry SR-22 insurance in Pennsylvania,  but many standard auto insurance agencies will not offer this type of coverage. Fortunately, with a bit of research, it is possible to find a carrier who can offer the coverage needed. Remember that having SR-22 is necessary if you have been told it is required. Without this insurance, you will not be able to drive in Pennsylvania and your driving privileges will be revoked elsewhere.

It’s possible to get help regardless of the insurance issues you are facing. This is true whether you simply want general advice on which plans and policies are best for you, if you are looking to get good coverage while also saving a bit of money, or if you are dealing with specific issues such as the need for SR-22 insurance in Pennsylvania. Seeking out free advice online or heading to an agency such as State Farm are great ways to get the information you need to ensure you have the coverage to stay protected.

Why Are New York Registered Nurses Investigated By The OPD Or Other Agencies

Working flawlessly and responsibly in a demanding medical environment is challenging and stressful for most nurses. Under time pressure and anxiety, nurses may get in trouble for forgetting to document events, rushing through charts, giving incorrect dosage of medicine, dispensing too many pills from the prescription drugs dispensing machine, and making numerous unintentional mistakes.

Regardless of whether a nurse intended to make a mistake, all reported instances of professional misconduct in NY are investigated by the Office of Professional Discipline (OPD).

The OPD investigates all matters involving nurses it considers professional misconduct. Every other state in the country also has a professional licensing group that oversees and monitors professional conduct for nurses.

The most common examples of such cases are negligence, violations of nursing rules and regulations, narcotic diversion, failure to keep proper records and so on. 

Nurses accused of professional misconduct risk to face penalties such as revocation, suspension, probation, and other consequences.

Most nursing misconduct cases are reported by employers and some are reported by patients. If you are a nurse working at a hospital or other clinical setting, you may be suspended and then called in for an “interview”. 

At that “interview” you will be accused of misconduct and probably forced to make statements that will be used against you later when your case is investigated by the OPD. Then, you are very likely to be fired. 

If you are in this situation, contact us immediately before attending any meetings and discussing anything with anyone, even co-workers. Do not sign any documents and do not discuss anything with your employer.

If you are under investigation by the Office of Professional Discipline (OPD) or similar agency, you should speak with an attorney who has experience in representing health professionals.

If you are being investigated by the Office of Professional Discipline in New York, call (212) 577-6677 to speak with our experienced nursing license defense lawyers immediately.

Joseph Potashnik is a criminal defense and Professional License Defense Attorney based in New York City

Three Things You Should Know About Getting A Criminal Record Expunged

It’s no secret that having a criminal record can do major damage to your reputation, potential job prospects, and more. But in some cases, especially with an experienced attorney, you can get a criminal record expunged and begin the path toward repairing your name. But to start on that path, you’ll need to examine a few things.

See three key points below that you should know when it comes to record expungement in the state of Florida.

Determine If You’re Eligible For Expungement

When determining if you’re eligible to have your criminal record expunged, you should reflect on a couple of things. Firstly, you’ll need to answer if you’ve ever been convicted of any crime anywhere in the United States for any offense, including a felony offense, a misdemeanor, or a criminal ordinance violation.

Next, determine, if as a juvenile, you were ever considered “adjudicated delinquent” of a criminal charge. You’ll also have to recollect if you have ever had an adult criminal record previously sealed or expunged, and you’ll need to answer if you’re currently under any type of court ordered supervision or diversion program, such as probation or community control. Lastly, you’ll need to address if you’ve ever entered a plea and the court withheld adjudication for the offense you are seeking to seal, and if it’s on the list of disqualifying offenses.

If all of these answers result in a no for you, you may be eligible to have a record expunged. However, if the answer is yes to any of them, it is unlikely you’ll be eligible.

There’s A Difference Between Expunged And Sealed

One of the key things to note is the difference between a criminal record that’s expunged and one that’s sealed. If a record in Florida is expunged, then that means the records from the court, and most records maintained by law enforcement, will be physically destroyed. However, a copy of the file will remain with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. If a record is sealed, then it stays confidential and the public will not have access to it through any government databases. But, certain government entities, including the police, have certain legal rights to access criminal records that are sealed under specific conditions. If a Florida record is expunged, the same government bodies that would have access to a sealed record would be told that a record was “expunged,” but would not have access to the contents of the record without a court order.

An Attorney Is Critical To Getting Your Record Expunged

If you’re looking to have a criminal record expunged, an experienced attorney like Joseph Knape will be able to guide you through the process, typically by helping to fill out the paperwork and send it to the appropriate agencies. An attorney can also prepare the petition and the order for the judge’s signature and be available for any court hearing in front of a judge. With Joseph Knape’s counsel, the only thing you have to do is answer a few questions, sign the appropriate paperwork, and return the fingerprint card provided to you.

Please contact an attorney in your area if you need help with a criminal expungement. 

Joe Knape is a criminal defense and family law attorney in Orlando and Central Florida.

 

How To Choose A Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you’ve been arrested, you may have had a moment of confusion when it came to the topic of a lawyer. After all, if this is the first time you’ve had a brush with the law, why would you have a lawyer on speed dial? Well, the bad news is that if you’ve been charged with a crime, it’s time to update your contact list to include your criminal defense attorney. How do you find a great one? 

The elephant in the room when it comes to hiring an attorney is price. Many criminal defense lawyers use flat-rate billing based on what you’re charged with. When you call up and tell them about your recent DUI arrest, for instance, they may be able to give you a firm number on what their services cost. Be advised that some firms only cover pretrial expenses with flat-rate billing. For example, if you go to trial for marijuana trafficking or a sexual assault, your costs may go much higher. What if you can’t afford a private attorney to defend you? You’re not alone, which is why cities and counties across the nation have public defender’s offices to provide legal services to the community. Some judges aren’t particularly interested in your wealth or lack of it; if you show up to your arraignment without counsel, you’ll be assigned a public defender. Don’t scoff at their abilities – odds are good that your public defender has tried more cases than most of the private attorneys you’ll interview, and they also probably have a better working relationship with prosecutors and judges at the courthouse. These count for a lot, so if you’re too broke to float the costs of a private lawyer, don’t despair. 

If you have the resources and want to keep looking, start with your personal network. You may have friends or family members who practice law, or perhaps you’ve worked with an attorney on a civil matter or when you bought your house. Reach out and ask for a referral. In the internet age, it’s almost a certainty that your old real estate or personal injury lawyer can help connect you to a reputable criminal defense attorney in your area. 

If you don’t know any lawyers, you may need to rely on your favorite search engine to find local criminal defense attorneys to call. This approach has some drawbacks, as the lawyers and firms at the top of the search results may simply have a bigger ad budget than the ones below, but it’ll give you a starting point for your inquiries. Look especially for firms that offer free initial consultations so that you can meet with a few lawyers to find one you like. 

When you’ve identified some to meet with, make sure to collect all your case-related paperwork to take to the meetings, as well as a list of questions that should include at least the following

  • How long have you practiced criminal law? 
  • Did you work as a public defender or prosecutor before going into private practice? 
  • How many cases have you taken to trial? 
  • How many cases with charges like mine have you handled?
  • How many cases have you handled in the courthouse where my case will be heard? 

Once you meet with a few attorneys, assuming that everything else is satisfactory with them, you’ll need to ask yourself some questions. Did the lawyer put you at ease, or at least make you feel like you could be open and honest with them? Did they explain things in a way that made sense, or did they stick to legal jargon that you’re not sure you understood? Did they seem trustworthy and interested in you as a person, not just as a person charged with a crime? 

Keep in mind that the lawyer you hire is technically your employee, but is also your advocate. It’s important that you have at least a good working relationship with your attorney so they can present the best image of you and the best case for you. If you follow the suggestions above, you’re very likely to find yourself well represented by a capable attorney, which can make a big difference in how your case plays out.

Matthew Reisig is an attorney in private practice in New Jersey. His firm offers professional criminal defense solutions for NJ residents needing experienced legal assistance after an arrest.

Options for Saving an Automobile In A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

A chapter 13 bankruptcy case filing immediately prevents the repossession of a vehicle, no matter the amount of the payment arrears. The bankruptcy code requires the debtor (person filing) to make a monthly trustee payment for 36 to 60 months, depending on his financial situation and intentions.

A trustee administers the case, which includes collecting monthly trustee payments and disbursing funds to various creditors. The amount of the monthly trustee payment and creditor disbursements are based on the debtors’ household’s disposable income, asset values and his personal debt issues.

In addition to filing a bankruptcy petition, the debtor must also file a chapter 13 bankruptcy plan, which provides for the treatment of the automobile debt, in addition to other types of debt. The plan must properly explain how the payments will be made to the finance company and whether the debtor intends on keeping or surrendering the auto. . Lease and finance payments may be handled differently in the plan.

If a chapter 13 debtor is filing for bankruptcy protection regarding a matter other than automobile finance arrears, and the finance payments are current, the bankruptcy plan should reflect that the auto finance debt is unaffected. Under these facts, the debtor may continue making regular direct monthly payments to the finance company, with no trustee disbursements paid to the finance company.

In the event that the debtor is in arrears with her auto finance payments, the debtor’s plan allows her to make regular monthly payments directly to the finance company, while paying the pre-filing finance arrears, through the trustee payments. The amount of the arrears includes the total amount the debtor is behind with her auto payments, as of the bankruptcy filing date. The trustee disburses the funds to the finance company, representing the automobile finance arrears.

The debtor also has the option of paying the total amount due to the finance company through the trustee payments. Under this scenario, the debtor is not required to make regular monthly finance payments directly to the company.  The debtor is permitted to pay a different interest amount on the balance due, based on the analysis of a well-known bankruptcy case, Till v. SCS Credit Corp., 541 U.S. 465 (2004), (Till).

The allowable Till interest rate, will benefit the debtor, if the auto finance contract rate of interest exceeds the applicable Till rate. The trustee will make all of the payments to the finance company.

Another option, under specific circumstances, allows the debtor to keep the auto by paying the amount of the retail fair market value of the automobile, plus the Till rate of interest, through monthly bankruptcy trustee payments. The trustee will make all of the vehicle finance payments, with no direct monthly finance payments required. The debtor should only pursue such a scenario, if the vehicle’s value, plus the Till interest rate is less than the financing payoff, plus the contract rate of interest, or the Till rate.

In this situation, the   total amount the debtor pays for the auto, to the bankruptcy trustee, is less than the original payment terms under the contract. The process explained above is called a “cramdown”.

A debtor may only use the “cramdown” process, based on the following criteria. If the vehicle is used for consumer purposes and the financing is used to purchase the automobile, the debtor may “cramdown” the payments, only if the vehicle was purchased 910 days or more, prior to the bankruptcy filing.

The debtor need not wait the 910 days, if the vehicle is used for business purposes or the automobile was used as collateral for the financing after the vehicle was purchased. A “cramdown” may require additional criteria under various circumstances.

An auto that is leased and not financed may also be saved in a chapter 13 bankruptcy case. The bankruptcy code indicates that the debtor may save his auto by paying the pre-filing lease arrears, through the bankruptcy trustee payments, while making regular monthly payments directly to the auto lease company. However, the arrears, must be paid promptly, through the bankruptcy plan.

Each bankruptcy judge may deem the term promptly as a different time period. In other words, one judge may require the debtor to cure the arrears, through the trustee payments within six months, while another judge may allow a debtor to cure the arrears within one year.

Please note that different states and trustees may apply the bankruptcy laws and processes  differently. New Jersey, the state where I practice, requires the debtor to make regular monthly payments directly to the secured creditor, if the arrears will be paid through the monthly trustee payments. In other words,

If a debtor is only paying their auto finance arrears through the plan, the future monthly finance payments must be paid directly to the finance company. In other jurisdictions, the trustee may require that both the auto finance arrears and the regular monthly finance payments be paid to the trustee, who will make the disbursements. Also, different states may use different bankruptcy plan forms.

The article is designed to provide general information regarding the bankruptcy laws. The bankruptcy laws are complex and may be applied differently, in each case, depending on the particular facts.

There may be numerous exceptions and variations for each law and rule. Do not rely on the information provided . If you are considering filing for bankruptcy protection, you should consult with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer in your area.

Robert Manchel is certified as a Consumer Law Bankruptcy Attorney by the American Board of Certification. The U.S. Bankruptcy Code States that the Certification Represents Skill & Expertise in the Bankruptcy Field.

Protecting Your Financial Future After a Traumatic Brain Injury

Injuries to the brain run the gamut, from difficult-to-diagnose to impossible to ignore, but the most important thing for the family of a person who’s suffered traumatic brain injury is to take immediate steps to protect their loved one financially.

Finding a professional law practice to ensure that a person who has suffered a traumatic brain injury has the resources they’ll need for medical care, even for a lifetime, is critical.

How Do I Know If My Loved One Suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Not every brain injury shows up in imaging, so here are some things to watch for after a loved one’s car or motorcycle accident, workplace injury, slip and fall, or other experience that can injure the brain:

  • Memory impairment
  • Changes in personality
  • Vision problems / blurred vision
  • Mood swings
  • Vertigo and balance issues
  • Changes to social behaviors
  • Problems with hand-eye coordination
  • Trouble understanding written material

If your loved one is displaying any of these symptoms, you may find there are serious negative impacts on their ability to work, getting along with family, and maintaining friendships. A neurologist may be able to give a clearer diagnosis and plan of action, including rehabilitative therapies that can help, but since so many Americans rely on their job for their health insurance, any impairment in your loved one’s ability to work can be catastrophic in getting better.

That’s where experienced traumatic brain injury lawyers come in. When you’ve been hurt in any kind of accident where another person’s negligence or recklessness played a role, you are not on the hook for the expenses associated with the injuries.

Protecting Your Financial Future

Studies show that two-thirds of American bankruptcies are related to medical issues, and that doesn’t just mean bills from treatment. Traumatic brain injury can easily mean the end of your loved one’s career or even the end of their working life. Safety net programs are better than nothing, but what you need is a financial bulwark to protect your injured loved one and your family.

When you or a loved one have suffered a traumatic brain injury, don’t wait to get the help you need. Get the absolute best attorneys in your area, with a proven track record, when you need help.

Louis Gertler is a Partner at The Gertler Law Firm. The firm offers professional & experienced representation for residents of the New Orleans, Louisiana area with personal injury matters and mesothelioma lawsuits.

Injured At Work – What Do You Do To Protect Yourself?

Workers compensation, the very term can bring about confusion.  The reality is, most workers do not think about workers’ compensation and how it will affect them until something has already happened.  It is important to protect you if you are injured on the job.

Most work injuries are minor in nature and will not medically remove you from work or force you into a new career and that is a good thing.  However, with workers’ compensation, depending upon your employer you may not have the easiest time filing a claim. Receiving medical care can be complicated and if you are not careful you can be stuck with the medical bill for the medical care that would fall under workers’ compensation.

Most workers do not want to fight with their employers and simply eat the medical bills or do not pay it, potentially causing damage to their own credit.  The workers would rather try to forget about the injury on the job than request that the employer pay the bill through their workers’ compensation insurance policy.

It is common in minor injuries the employer will not file a claim with their workers’ compensation insurance carrier.  By not filing the claim, they are not going to risk their insurance premiums increasing. However, there can be a bigger problem if they do not report the injury and the worker realizes the injury is more serious than originally thought.

In this type of scenario, it is critical that the injured worker provide the employer notice of the injury and request medical treatment for the injury.  How do you report an injury? Provide it to your employer in writing. To avoid the employer claiming they did not receive the writing, fax it or mail it to them certified for proof that they received what you sent them.   It is important that you also keep a copy of what you send the employer regarding your work injury.

Most employers will do the right thing if you report an injury and request medical care, however, there are some who either do not know what to do and mishandle the situation, or intentionally ignore your request knowing that the injured worker only has a short period of time to provide notice to the employer (In Georgia that can be as short as 30 days) of an injury  or they could be barred from bringing a claim through workers’ compensation through the courts.

If you are injured on the job, report the injury and request medical care, if the employer appears to be dragging their feet and you are not hearing anything about medical care and have not heard from the workers’ compensation insurance company, you may want to put notice of your injury in writing and either fax or send certified mail prior to any deadlines running, it could be the difference in having a claim and/or fighting to have a claim.  Protect yourself and your family.

Ty Wislon is the owner of Ty WIlson Law. His firm offers professional & experienced representation for residents of the Savannah, Georgia area with workers compensation and personal injury matters.

2019’s Most Followed Divorce: Wendy Williams

When nationally syndicated New York City talk show host Wendy Williams didn’t return to her show in January, it didn’t initially cause much fuss. The return from the holiday hiatus was pushed a week, to January 14, with Wendy’s camp explaining that pain from a fractured shoulder was to blame. “Wendy is on the mend and wants to return pain-free and be 200%,” the show’s Instagram page told fans. Then the date was pushed again, this time to January 21. The show’s distributor, Debmar-Mercury, had been airing reruns of the decade-old show, but decided it couldn’t wait forever and began bringing guest hosts on to cover for the missing talker. 

Then, amid plenty of speculation about what exactly was happening with Wendy, her husband, Kevin Hunter, released a statement announcing that she had developed complications from Graves Disease and had been hospitalized. “Wendy will be under the strict supervision of her physicians, and as part of her care, there will be significant time spent in the hospital. Despite her strong desire to return, she is taking a necessary, extended break from her show to focus on her personal and physical well-being,” the January 18 release read. 

The tabloid press pounced as Nick Cannon and Jerry O’Connell earned strong reviews from her host’s chair. There was speculation that her problem wasn’t medical but rather family related. In particular, theories about her relationship with her husband, who is also her manager and a show producer, abounded. Page Six even fronted the headline, “Wendy Williams’ unraveling blamed on allegedly abusive husband” over a piece where a number of anonymous current and former staffers expressed concern for her mental health. A source from her days on the radio recounted, “She would hide in the bathroom and tell me to knock on the door when [Kevin] left the office so she wouldn’t have to see him.” The same source said that it wasn’t unusual for Kevin to pull Wendy into a private room to fight with her. “You’d hear slaps or some type of tussling going on,” the person said. 

When Wendy finally returned to take the reins of her show on March 4, she took to the stage in a $2,200 Valentino dress and seemed to be in fine spirits. “I am happy to tell you that I’m doing swell,” she told the audience, talking about her recent medical adventure and the numerous doctors who’d weighed in and the tests she’d undergone. While not directly addressing the stories about Kevin, she was conspicuously adorned with her wedding ring and praised his attentiveness in going to doctor’s appointments with her. 

It was her revelation a few weeks later that really raised eyebrows. According to Wendy, she’d quit drugs years before without any professional assistance, and was now realizing the extent to which she hadn’t addressed the underlying motivations behind her addictive behavior. On March 19, she revealed that she was living in a Queens sober living facility, an admission that prompted an outpouring of support from fans and celebrities alike. The story, as it played out in real time, made little sense, but it wouldn’t be long before pieces began to fall into place. 

For instance, on March 25, Page Six told the world that Kevin Hunter’s mistress had just given birth to their love child in a Philadelphia hospital. Sources close to all involved said that his affair had been going on for as long as a decade, and all eyes turned to Wendy to gauge how the world should respond. The signal was sent right away, when Wendy reportedly fled the sober living house without supervision, got herself to a bar, and when the staff finally tracked her down, they transported her to a hospital for IV fluids and a quick check up. She was back on TV the next day, and by April 11, Wendi had filed for divorce from her marital address in Livingston, New Jersey. 

This seems only to have accelerated the roller coaster year she was having. First, there was the matter of the intertwined professional and personal roles that Kevin played for Wendy. About a week after the divorce filing, Kevin and the Wendy Williams Show negotiated an exit package for him, and his name disappeared from the show credits. Wendy ordered that the office he had worked from be remodeled right away to wipe out all signs of him. She also, understandably, fired him as her manager and brought on Bernie Young to manage her career.

There was the late April incident where Kevin called the police after Wendy showed up at the New Jersey house with a moving truck to pick up her things. This was resolved quietly, with the help of Livingston police, but was hardly the only drama brought on by the divorce. Kevin fired back at her divorce filing, in which she sought reasonable support and child support for their son Kevin Jr., demanding spousal and child support of his own. This seems to have led to an altercation in New Jersey between the Kevins that led to Junior being arrested for assaulting his dad. Charges were dismissed a couple of months later, but it’s clear that tensions had reached a toxic plateau. 

Late in the summer, rumors swirled that Wendy’s personal problems had also poisoned her show. Staffers were said to be looking for new jobs amid expectations of cancellation, all of which turned out to be unfounded. Instead, Wendy saw Kevin Jr. off to his first year of college, moved herself into a $15,000 a month apartment in Manhattan’s financial district, and Debmar-Mercury renewed the Wendy Williams Show for an additional two seasons, through 2022.  

As the end of 2019 approached, Wendy Williams had survived possibly the hardest year of her life, and rather than be beaten by it, it appears that she’s been strengthened. Her controversial on-screen commentary has sparked outrage from celebrities like Christie Brinkley, Meghan Markle, and Nicki Minaj, while her notoriety has only expanded her fame. Just before Thanksgiving, Madame Tussauds announced that it was creating a Wendy Williams wax figure for its New York museum. We can’t even guess what’s coming for Wendy Williams in 2020, but for 2019, her divorce was certainly one of the more memorable cases of the year. 

David Shapiro is an attorney with Zelenitz, Shapiro & D’Agostino. The firm offers professional solutions for NYC residents seeking a divorce or other family law legal assistance.

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