Trouble with mortgage approval?

Over the past several months our office has received a lot of calls from potential clients looking for help to clean up their credit in advance of getting approved or pre-approved for a mortgage. In fact, we’ve actually developed a few relationships with mortgage brokers who have begun to suggest us to some of their clients who cannot immediately be approved for a mortgage.

In our office, there are a number of techniques and tools we can utilize to assist with credit repair. Since everyone’s situation is very different, there is no hard and fast answer for everyone, and we prefer to do a sit down or phone consultation for about 15-20 minutes to get a good feel for your individual situation.

After/during this process, we can help go through your credit report and analyze your debts. Depending on whether your problem is a low credit score, a high debt to income ratio, or a combination of both we can probably help.

Again, our solutions vary for each and every situation. For some clients we can dispute items on a credit report, negotiate debts, set up payment plans and also negotiate the reversal of negative reports on credit.

Sometimes there’s an avenue to not only challenge the harmful items on a credit report, but to seek money damages for our clients as a result of these harmful items on their report if they were put there improperly, and not removed timely.

For other clients, we discuss the options of bankruptcy. For some consumers this serves as a “clean slate” approach that will often clear the decks on a lot of old, bad debt. This debt can be credit card debt, medical bills, or many other debts from the past.

Many of our clients are initially concerned with filing for a bankruptcy due to some of the negative stigma surrounding it. Others find it contradictory that a loan officer will tell someone to call us knowing that there’s a chance we will file bankruptcy. The truth of the matter is that most underwriters will be able to approve a mortgage within 18 months to 3 years from the discharge.

If you’re struggling to get a mortgage, and want to clean up your financial situation in anticipation of approval give us a call at (410) 885-6200 to schedule that free initial consultation.

Cecil County’s Top 5 “Hot Spots” for 2016 Accidents #3

We continue our countdown of the hot spots for Cecil County auto accidents in 2016 with a bit of a stretch. As with some of our previous posts in this spot is actually a stretch of roadway where a couple of different areas/intersections along the road are the real “hot spot”. This one ranks just above #4, which we looked at last week.

3. Rt 40 approaching and past North East, MD

Rt 40 through a few spots in North East, Maryland are some big problem areas. One of them is a direct result of evening/afternoon rush hour traffic. As you head west on Rt 40 from Elkton to North East, traffic will begin to back up between 4:30 and 6pm as far back as Marley Road. This traffic inevitably results in many rear end collisions on an almost daily basis. This wasn’t always the case, and we suspect that it’s largely the result of cell phone/smart phone use by people who are waiting in the line of traffic, seeing that it begins to move, and then doesn’t stop in time for the traffic.

Heading a little further west on Rt 40 will bring us to the intersection with Red Toad Road. This newly renovated, but not redesigned, intersection is a super hot spot for traffic accidents for a variety of reasons. It’s actually a bit surprising to most that this isn’t alone the number one accident spot in our countdown (maybe it’ll rise up the list in 2017, as we’ve already seen double digit accidents here so far this year).

red toad during construction

From an overhead map view there’s nothing strange or unique about this intersection, but if you travel through the area regularly you’ll know that it’s nothing normal going on here. The traffic coming from Red Toad in either direction often have issues negotiating who gets to go first, and in what direction, as most traffic coming from Red Toad in either direction is turning onto Rt 40 in one direction or another.

Additionally, the traffic traveling through Rt 40 in either direction is in no way innocent in causation of these accidents. We’ve found many people get surprised by the light, and attempt to speed up to beat it, or just run it altogether. The problem created here more or less speaks for itself with where this intersection ranks on this year’s list!

If you’re injured in an accident in Cecil County, or anywhere in the State of Maryland please call our office at 410-885-6200. We’re happy to discuss your claim, and handle all dealings with insurance companies on your behalf. Most importantly, we don’t charge you anything up front, and only get a fee if we are successful in getting you money.

Cecil County’s Top 5 “Hot Spots” for 2016 Accidents #4

We’re continuing out countdown of the most dangerous accident spots in Cecil County, Maryland for the calendar year 2016. Last week we saw the 5th most dangerous accident intersection(s) as rated by the cases my office handled in the 2016 calendar year.

4. Rt 40 and Rt 213 (Bridge St/Augustine Herman Highway)

rt40rt213elkton

If you were to have asked me what intersections I thought were the most dangerous in 2016 without actually looking at the numbers this one would have been my guess for the top spot. Surprisingly, this intersection ranked number 4 on the overall list for 2016 accidents.

Yes. That mean’s there are 3 intersections in Cecil County Maryland that we handled more accidents from than the interchange between Rt 40 and Rt 213!

This is likely one of the busiest intersections in Cecil County, right in the heart of Elkton. The intersection of 2 major county arteries is also the intersection of many many vehicles, not in a good way!

The lights here are on a timed sequence, but they’re not entirely consistent. If you’ve ever tried to turn left onto 213 from the eastbound Rt 40 lane, you know that left arrow lasts maybe 3 or 4 cars…if everyone is paying attention!

Be careful traveling through this intersection, and don’t try to “speed up” and beat any lights here, otherwise you might become a client of ours, or even worse create a client for our office. Don’t just be careful here, but also be careful in our #3 most dangerous intersection for 2016.

If you’re injured in an accident in Cecil County, or anywhere in the State of Maryland please call our office at 410-885-6200. We’re happy to discuss your claim, and handle all dealings with insurance companies on your behalf. Most importantly, we don’t charge you anything up front, and only get a fee if we are successful in getting you money.

Cecil County’s Top 5 “Hot Spots” for 2016 Accidents #5

Our injury law office here in Elkton, Maryland has grown quite a bit before opening up in late 2014. We handle a LOT of accident and injury claims throughout the State, but many of them happen right here in Cecil County or involve citizens of Cecil County. In our normal process of doing year-end reporting from 2016, we noticed some interesting trends when it comes to the location of many of the accident cases we handle. We’ve compiled a list of the Top 5 Accident Locations in Cecil County. You may want to take note of this list, and be extra aware when driving in these areas.

5. Rt 272 near the North East Walmart

272 at Walmart NE

The intersection with the 5th most injury related accidents in Cecil County in 2016 is really 3 different intersections that sit back to back to back in North East, MD. We’ve represented clients in a variety of accidents that have occurred entering and/or exiting the main entrance to the plaza where the Walmart is in North East. Just a bit north of this intersection is the main entrance to Timberbrook community, Rogers Road. We have almost as many accidents in 2016 at this intersection, as there are a few feet down the street.

272atRogers

Just a few hundred feet north of Rogers Road is the intersection at Nazarene Camp road. Not quite as many as Rogers Road or the Walmart, but just as close in location that we felt the need to lump this in. This grouping of 3 intersections is actually only our 5th most “dangerous” for 2016. Number 4 has us representing even more clients….

 

If you’re injured in an accident in Cecil County, or anywhere in the State of Maryland please call our office at 410-885-6200. We’re happy to discuss your claim, and handle all dealings with insurance companies on your behalf. Most importantly, we don’t charge you anything up front, and only get a fee if we are successful in getting you money.

The cost/benefit of increasing your PIP/Medpay Coverage in Maryland

Today I had the pleasure of meeting with one of my clients in the Elkton, MD office to discuss her current treatment progression as a result of an ongoing automobile accident case. Among the topics of conversation was her auto insurance policy, and the fact that she had switched insurance companies since her accident. As I experience many insurance companies who attempt to trick their clients into waiving PIP coverage, I wanted to double check her coverages and make sure she didn’t get duped.

Fortunately, her company has an app that allows her to bring up, and even modify coverage on the fly, which let us play around with possible scenarios for insurance coverage…

We quickly learned that she did have PIP coverage….that’s good. Don’t ever waive PIP coverage in Maryland!

The company she is now insured through does not offer more than the basic $2,500 PIP, but they do offer MEDPAY coverage. It works more or less the same way as PIP, except it cannot be used for wages.

The additional coverage was offered in the following increments: $500, $1,000, $2,500, $5,000. Each of these options would offer money toward medical payments above and beyond the $2,500 in PIP coverage, depending on which was selected.

We first clicked the $500 option, which immediately let us know that her premiums would increase by $2.55 if she were to add the $500 in medpay coverage. That’s not too bad. Doing the math, she’d have to pay this premium for 196 months (16 years) for her to pay more in premium than the benefit she’d gain as a result.

Medpay Premium in MarylandWe then clicked the $5,000 button…while it was loading I told her “i bet you anything it’s far less than 10x the price” and sure enough…to get $5,000 in additional medical payment coverage, it would cost her a whopping $5.88month. That’s double the premium for ten times the coverage! that’s a no brainer… She’d have to maintain this policy for $850 months (70 years) accident free in order to pay more in premium than she’d potentially gain in benefit! This is an absolute no brainer!

 

New Maryland Law- Proof of Insurance Required

Attention Maryland drivers! There is a new law that will go into force this October that you need to be aware of so that you’re not stuck with avoidable fines or trouble from the police during a traffic stop.

Each year Maryland’s legislature meets for a 90 day session that runs from January through April. The laws that are passed during that session typically go into act the first of October that same year.

This year there is a huge push from the legislature to crack down on uninsured drivers. Now, for the first time, there is a new law in place requiring proof of insurance during a traffic stop, should the officer demand/request it.

Beginning on October 1, 2016, all drivers in Maryland are required to carry valid proof of insurance, and present it during traffic stops, at the request of a law enforcement officer. During an initial introduction period, warnings will be issued to drivers who are unable to present valid proof of insurance. Beginning on July 1, 2017, drivers will be fined $50 for failure to provide valid proof of insurance.

For most of us, we keep our insurance cards inside of our glove compartment where the registration, owners manual, napkins from your favorite restaurant and whatever other random stuff is jammed in there. We’re urging you to double check that you’ve not only got your insurance card in that spot, but that it’s the current/valid insurance card. Most insurance companies re-issue a new insurance card with each renewal period that shows an effective date range (usually 6 months or a year). Every time you get one of these the only thing that normally changes is the effective dates, but it’s important that you pay attention when these come in the mail, or print them if they come to you online!

As always, be safe on the roads. Follow our firm on facebook or bookmark this blog for more future updates on important legal topics!

Recovering Wage Garnishments through Bankruptcy

One of the major benefits to filing a bankruptcy petition in Maryland is the automatic stay. It can be helpful in stopping most collection actions against you, including wage garnishments that are not a result of child support or child support arrears, or recent income tax arrears. Not only do some of these garnishments stop immediately upon the filing of the bankruptcy petition, but we are also able to recover up to 90 days worth of garnishment withholdings that were taken prior to the filing of the petition.

In a recent case we handled, which was brought into our office due to the wage garnishment, we were able to not only stop the garnishment, but we eliminated roughly $20,000 in additional unsecured debt for the client, and received a refund from the garnishment that was roughly equivalent to the amount of the fee the client paid our office to handle the proceedings. It was basically a free bankruptcy filing, plus the added benefit of all of the discharged debt!

Should be be in a position where you’re dealing with a non-child support or recent income tax wage garnishment contact our office at 410-885-6200 to discuss your options with one of our Maryland bankruptcy attorneys.

Policy Limits Offer- Motor Cycle Collision

Some of the most difficult claims to resolve can be Motorcycle accident claims in Maryland. Our firm recently represented a victim of a motorcycle accident, and achieved a policy limits result from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

Like with many serious claims where we are able to achieve such a result for our client, our focus now shifts to finding other avenues of recovery for the client, and negotiating outstanding expenses on our client’s behalf.

 

A potentially dangerous time on the roads

By now most of us in Maryland and the surrounding areas have “dug out” of the recent blizzard that hit us late last week. While our roadways are seemingly cleared of ice and snow, that doesn’t necessarily mean the dangers that come from such a storm are gone.

While the roadways are mostly cleared, there still remain large piles of shoveled and plowed snow throughout areas along the side of roadways. Medians that were never touched, as there was to be no traffic there, and other adjacent areas that have remaining snow and ice will now begin to melt as the weather heats up a bit.

This can create unrealized dangers on the roadway, and extra care and caution should be used to avoid accidents!

Much like the time directly following the start of a rain storm can be a dangerous time to be on the road, the times of the day where the ice and snow begin to melt and run onto the roadways can be equally dangerous. The same aspect of water mixing with the oils on the roadway will happen whether that water is new rain, or run off of newly melted snow and ice.

Also, the evening hours as the temperature drops can be even more treacherous, as that water on the roadways can freeze, causing ice incidents.

Take extra care in these days and weeks following the blizzard, or any blizzard for that matter. Give yourself extra commute time, and extra follow distance between you and the vehicle in front, just in case a quick stop is required. The last thing you’ll want is to have your brakes lock up, tires skid across the recently melted water, and cause an avoidable accident!

As always, should the other drivers on the roadway not see this, not heed this advice, and put you in a situation where you’re the victim of such an accident, do not hesitate to contact our office as soon as possible at 410-885-6200. We can help navigate the insurance company nightmare, make sure you’re paid fairly for your injures, and in many cases recover for the diminished re-sale value of your damaged and repaired vehicle.

I love a good client success story….

I’ve spend my entire career as an attorney, and much of my career in the industry prior to becoming an attorney working to educate the community and clients of mine or the firm(s) I worked for about how to improve their automobile insurance in preparation for an eventual accident.

The reality of the situation is that accidents are actually happening more and more frequently, as the threats and risks created by distracted drivers texting, emailing and facebooking on their phones while driving have drastically outweigh the improvements designed to make vehicles safer, including those designed to have cars automatically avoid accidents.

Much of the education that I have provided to my clients and prospective clients can be found in the book I published in 2014 entitled ‘Making the most of your Maryland auto insurance policy‘ which is available on amazon.com or can be downloaded electronically via the web at no cost.

The success story for one of our clients comes from this educational outreach. One of the first clients our firm represented for an automobile accident was driving a vehicle owned and insured by his girlfriend. The owner of the vehicle had waived Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage on the policy, but the driver had not waived PIP on any policy he was named on, and was eligible for PIP. I took the opportunity to speak to the owner of the vehicle, even though she was not our client, nor was she involved in the accident herself. One of the major pieces of advice provided to her was to remove that PIP waiver, and increase the PIP coverage as much as she can afford and that her company would offer her.

Apparently she listened to me, and it’s turned out to greatly benefit her, as the advice provided in the book is designed to do. Later on in the year she herself was the victim of an automobile accident. Of course, she called our firm for representation, and as I was working on resolving her claim this morning, I looked through the file and realized that she carried $5,000.00 in Personal Injury Protection coverage, a big change from when she had waived it! In the end, this meant that the vast majority of her hospital, physical therapy, and doctors bills have already been paid. In the end, this means more money in my client’s pocket once the claim resolves! In fact, she will likely put as much as $5,000 more in her pocket than she would have if she had maintained the PIP waiver. That’s a real big deal!

This is the type of success story for my clients that makes me happy that I do what I do, and that I run my practice the way that I do. If you are a client or not, and would like me to take a look at your Maryland auto insurance policy, give me a call at 410-885-6200. I’ll gladly take the time to meet with you in my office, or review over the phone/fax/email and let you know what things I think you can do to improve your policy. No one wants to get into an accident, and I certainly wouldn’t wish it onto any of my clients or even any of my so called “enemies,” but it’s good to know ways you can prepare for the worst that will cost you very little, and in some instances even reduce your premiums. Final note: I don’t sell insurance, so the offer to review your policy is not a sales pitch. Any suggestions I make involving changes to your policy will have to be done through your own insurance agent, or by finding a new agent. So no worries calling for information and having to avoid a hard sell, it’s just not happening!