Jacksonville Medical Debt Lawyer
Medical debt is the main cause of bankruptcies in America. Nearly two out of three people who file bankruptcy cite their medical bills as a primary reason. With Americans spending an average of greater than $10,000 a year on medical care, it is not difficult to understand how quickly the debt can accumulate. Of course, medical care is not a luxury that these debtors are splurging on, and for most people, incurring large amounts of medical bills is not a choice.
Fortunately, medical debt is dischargeable in bankruptcy. If a person files for Chapter 7, they might be able to completely eliminate their debts by the time they complete the process. For many individuals, this can feel like a fresh start and a chance to get their financial lives on track. For others, filing Chapter 13 is a better option than Chapter 7, even though it requires some debt payments.
When it comes to bankruptcy, many laws can impact the debtor. It is important to understand that many of these laws are in place to protect you. A Jacksonville medical debt lawyer can help you determine your best options. Call the Law Offices of Carol M. Galloway today at 904-694-5489 for a free consultation with a compassionate and smart bankruptcy lawyer.
Medical Debts and Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
When a person files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, they can often eliminate their unsecured debts. Some debts, such as school loans, child support, and taxes, will remain the debtors’ responsibility even after the bankruptcy. However, medical debts are not secured, and the bankruptcy will likely lead to a full discharge of those debts. Credit card debts will also likely qualify for discharge, with certain exceptions.
It is important to note that the courts do not allow you to pick and choose which debts to discharge. Instead, you must provide a complete and honest list of all creditors, secured and unsecured, and courts discharge those that are not secured.
There are issues to think about before filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, such as if you own assets you wish to keep. While you might be able to protect your home, many other assets could be available to repay your debts, although a skilled attorney can make use of the applicable bankruptcy exemptions to keep you from losing any property. Another issue is that if you had someone co-sign for you on certain loans or purchases, you might saddle that person with your debts. If Chapter 7 is not a feasible option for you, or if it is one that is too problematic, you might consider filing under Chapter 13 instead. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can assist you and inform you regarding your legal options.
Chapter 13 and Medical Debts in Jacksonville
If a person files under Chapter 13, they still must make payments on their debt, but their lawyer will work out a schedule that makes payments realistic. The court must approve the schedule for the bankruptcy to proceed. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will involve repayment over three or five years, and at the end of that term, the unsecured debts are discharged. In the case of medical debts, the schedule can lead to the debtor paying only a small percent of the overall debt. The same scenario would likely apply for credit card debt.
If a person needs to catch up with mortgage and car payments, this form of bankruptcy can help. As long as the debtor stays on track, they can maintain their ownership of these assets and beat back a foreclosure or repossession
During the Chapter 13 period, debtors find themselves living on a strict and frugal budget. The debtor cannot take on new debt without consulting the overseeing trustee, as an additional obligation could lead to the inability to stay on track with the scheduled payments.
Sometimes a Chapter 13 debtor is not able to make the payments. While the court typically only allows those with a steady income to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, these people can face setbacks that change their financial situations. Medical issues could arise again that cause the person to incur more debt and even prevent them from working. Fortunately, there are ways to protect the person in such cases. For instance, if the inability to keep on track with payments is not the debtor’s fault, and a new schedule is not feasible, the court can discharge many of the debts, similar to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. There are limitations, and typically creditors must receive at least what they would have if the debtor had filed Chapter 7 in the first place.
Hiring a Jacksonville Lawyer for a Medical Bankruptcy in Florida
If you are struggling because of excessive medical debt, you might benefit from filing for bankruptcy. Deciding to file under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is a big step and involves complex legal issues. Contacting an experienced Jacksonville medical debt lawyer is a good way to ensure that you understand your rights. Call the Law Offices of Carol M. Galloway at 904-694-5489 today to speak to a dedicated bankruptcy attorney.