As a business owner, keeping informed about the finer points of employment law is important. If you're getting ready to hire your first employees, you need to be sure that you understand exactly what you can and cannot do. Don't risk getting yourself into legal trouble by asking the wrong question at the interview or making an off-hand comment that's considered legally unacceptable. I created this site to give you the basics of employment law expectations. I hope that the information here helps you to understand what you should and shouldn't do as you're interviewing and hiring your first staff members.
According to a 2005 study, a whopping 46% of bankruptcies have to do with medical conditions and expenses. Inadequate health insurance can easily lead to overwhelming medical debt, but so can just having a chronic or devastating health condition that leaves you struggling with co-pays and uncovered expenses. Is bankruptcy necessarily the best option? Maybe not. Don't be shocked if you meet with a bankruptcy attorney who ends up advising you not to file for relief. Here are some reasons that this happens.
You can't file on the medical debt alone.
Your medical debt is considered "unsecured" debt, which means that it can be wiped out by a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, you can't file on just your medical debt—which often means that you have to list bills that you'd just as soon continue paying, like those from your credit cards. If you've avoided the trap of maxing out your credit cards to try to pay the medical debt, you may have several cards that you would like to keep.
Unfortunately, you can't pick and choose which creditors you want to pay because that's considered preferential treatment. Filing for bankruptcy could leave you without the credit necessary to qualify for any new credit cards for a while, and that might leave you without a safety net for emergencies.
You might be better off simply ignoring the debt.
As difficult as it is to consider leaving a load of debt hanging over your head, you may be in a situation in which doing exactly that is preferable to filing for bankruptcy. While your credit is going to be damaged by the medical debt, bankruptcy is going to damage your credit as well. While each situation is unique, here are some general guidelines that could tell you that bankruptcy might not be the best choice.
While it's frustrating to deal with the collection agents and the pressure to pay up, you may be in a position where your medical condition has made you virtually "judgment proof," and your creditors know it. Unless you have significant savings, if your only income is now disability payments through Social Security or the VA, your creditors can't garnish that income.
A bankruptcy attorney can help you sort the matter out.
Consulting a bankruptcy attorney doesn't always automatically lead to filing a bankruptcy—but a bankruptcy attorney is the person who can look over the specifics of your situation and determine what the best course of action is for you to take. While a bankruptcy attorney will help you file the petition for relief if you want, he or she will first advise you on whether or not this makes the most sense for your situation. Don't be surprised if the attorney ends up recommending against filing if you meet specific conditions.
Consult an attorney such as Donald T Tesch, PS to get started with a consultation.