We've spent some time over the past few weeks on our Tyler bankruptcy law blog discussing medical expenses, including the unexpected kind from out-of-network providers that many people fear even more than a serious illness itself. Even Tyler residents who understand that filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can eliminate debt like this may resist out of a fear of the unknown, or a fear of how bankruptcy will change their lives.
Texas residents have struggled with a serious, even deadly, flu season in 2017-2018. Sometimes, when an illness like the flu strikes unexpectedly, patients don't have the luxury of scheduling an appointment with their primary care provider. They need to be seen and treated at the nearest possible facility, perhaps even an emergency room.
Tyler residents who are worried about their health care expenses are not alone. Roughly three in four Americans have experienced an increase in the cost of health care in recent years, leading to concerning statistics about their ability to stay on top of medical costs.
We recently wrote about the concerning rates of student loan default in America today, and the important fact that bankruptcy cannot eliminate this kind of debt as it can others. Let's take a look at how this reality has played out for one Texas resident who filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and the very narrow (virtually impossible) exceptions to the student loan rule which some are advocating to change.
Many Tyler residents likely made a new year's resolution to get a handle on their credit card debt. The phenomenon is occurring across the country: a recent study projects that Americans added a total of $50 billion in credit card debt over the course of the past year. Collectively, we owe $1 trillion in credit card debt.
We have all had that friend, family member or co-worker who was suddenly let go from their job. It can be a shock, both emotionally and financially. Sometimes, despite a person's best efforts, it can cause a term of unemployment. With many people living paycheck to paycheck to begin with, a bout of unemployment can have catastrophic consequences.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as liquidation bankruptcy, permits a debtor to sell of items of property in order to satisfy their outstanding obligations to their creditors. Some Tyler residents may be wary of this process as it may seem as though they will be left with nothing once their financial obligations are fulfilled. However, through the permissible use of property exemptions a debtor may protect certain items of property for their lives after they have received their Chapter 7 discharges.
A phrase with which Tyler residents struggling with financial challenges will likely be all-too-familiar is "pull yourself up by your bootstraps." The idea that one should simply work more - longer hours or an extra job - to pay off debt is hard-wired into many minds. But especially for individuals struggling with student loan debt, working may actually become more difficult or even impossible.
A serious illness or injury can strike anyone in Texas without warning. When this happens, a person may need treatment in a hospital along with ongoing care even after they are released from the hospital. This is when the bills start rolling in. From the ambulance ride, to the radiology and lab tests, to the surgical procedures to the anesthesia, having a serious injury or illness can take its toll not only physically, but also financially.
No one in Texas decides to file for bankruptcy on a whim. In fact, there are many misconceptions circling around regarding the "perils" of bankruptcy. However, just like anything else, don't believe everything you hear.