Bankruptcy and HOA: What You Need to Know

What you need to know about filing for bankruptcy with an HOA - OlsenDaines bankruptcy attorneys in Oregon

If you live on a property with a homeowner’s association and are overwhelmed with late dues or fees, then you may be wondering if bankruptcy is a viable way to eliminate these debts. While this may seem like a straightforward question, there are several factors that can impact whether or not your HOA debts can be discharged through bankruptcy. To help give you an idea of what your situation might look like, the experts at OlsenDaines have put together a guide on what you need to know about bankruptcy and HOA.

Can I Discharge My HOA Debt Through Bankruptcy?

Your specific circumstances will impact whether or not you can dismiss HOA debt by filing for bankruptcy. To determine if your HOA fees can be discharged, begin by asking yourself these questions:

Which chapter of bankruptcy are you filing for? The two most common chapters of bankruptcy are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. While Chapter 7 bankruptcy is intended for lower-income individuals with fewer assets, Chapter 13 is geared toward those with more assets and disposable income. Knowing which chapter you qualify for will give you a better understanding of what your debt relief options are.

Do you plan to keep the property? With both chapters of bankruptcy, you should be able to wipe out past HOA dues by forfeiting the property. However, if you plan to keep your condo or home, you will still be responsible for paying your HOA debts.

With Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you should treat the HOA like a bank holding a mortgage and plan to make payments both before and after you file. It’s important to know that the HOA could still foreclose on your home if they have a lien on your property, even if your debts are discharged.

Meanwhile, if you are filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and plan to keep the property, your repayment options may look a little different. Since this chapter allows you to reconfigure your debts into a payment plan, your past HOA fees should be included in your monthly installment.

Can an HOA Foreclose on My Property After Bankruptcy?

Even if you are granted bankruptcy, an HOA may be able to foreclose on your property depending on your specific situation. Here are some instances where an HOA can foreclose on your property after bankruptcy:

  • Your foreclosure has already taken place: Bankruptcy cannot undo a foreclosure that has already taken place. So, if the HOA has already foreclosed on your property and the home is no longer in your name, the outcome of your bankruptcy petition will not be able to reverse the process.
  • The HOA filed a lien against your property: Once an HOA files a lien against your property, they may begin the foreclosure process. Though you are granted an “automatic stay” while filing for bankruptcy – meaning that the HOA cannot move forward with the foreclosure process during your petition – they may be able to resume the process once you are granted bankruptcy. Bankruptcy cannot get rid of a lien filed against you even if your debts are discharged, so your property may still be foreclosed on.
  • You accrue more fees after bankruptcy: Bankruptcy will only discharge debts accrued prior to your petition, so you will be responsible for any fees due after you are granted bankruptcy. This is true even if you are forfeiting the property; you will have to pay any fees that accumulate between the time you are granted bankruptcy and the sale of your home. To avoid accruing more fees and debt, it is best to wait until the property is sold before filing for bankruptcy if you are planning to surrender the home.

Your Local Bankruptcy Experts

Here at OlsenDaines, we understand how stressful and complicated it can be to file for bankruptcy. That is why our experienced attorneys are always here to help. We strive to make the process as fast and easy as possible while ensuring that you are getting the most out of your petition. With over 40 years of experience serving people throughout Oregon, we are very familiar with local bankruptcy laws and are prepared to help you regain control over your finances so you can truly start fresh. If you are looking into bankruptcy and would like to speak with an expert, contact us today to set up a free legal consultation!

What to Do If You Get Hurt From a Car Accident

Image of a car accident in Oregon - OlsenDaines Personal Injury Attorneys

Car accidents can be scary situations, especially if you sustain any type of injury. Knowing what to do after an accident can help you seek recovery quickly while protecting your rights and preparing to make a claim. Here is what to do if you get hurt from a car accident:

Stay Calm and Assess Injuries

Always ensure you, your passengers, and anybody else involved in the accident are safe. If anybody sustained major injuries, call 911 immediately for medical help. Try to maintain a calm demeanor to remain in control of the situation. Additionally, move any impacted vehicles out of the way of traffic if possible.

Call Law Enforcement and Make a Report

Once you know everybody is safe, call the authorities and report the incident. Law enforcement will examine the scene, interview witnesses, and otherwise collect information about the accident to help determine who was at fault. A police report is extremely important for proving liability, which is why you should never skip this step.

Collect Witness Contact Information

If there are third-party witnesses to the accident, try to collect their contact information – even if law enforcement has not yet arrived. That way, if the witness chooses to leave the scene of the accident before police arrive, you will still have their information to provide for the report and to use later on if needed.

Seek Medical Attention Immediately

If you have not already contacted a medical professional to assess your injuries, do so as soon as possible – even if you feel just fine. Shock from an accident can make it difficult or impossible to determine the extent of an injury, which is why it’s crucial to see a doctor right away. Describe the events and any wounds in detail and get comprehensive diagnostic tests. Not only will this allow the doctor to create a proper treatment plan that will help with your recovery, but it will also create a written medical record that can be used later on if you make a claim.

Do Not Give a Statement to Any Insurance Company

Wait until you have consulted with an experienced attorney before you give a statement to any insurance company – even your own. Your insurance company may call you shortly after the accident to obtain a statement, but whatever you say can be used against you later on. Though you may notify them that an accident has occurred, wait to provide a statement.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

An experienced attorney can help you navigate the claims process to recover maximum compensation to which you are entitled. These damages can help cover medical bills, vehicle repairs, and more. If you are in need of an experienced attorney in the state of Oregon, contact the experts at OlsenDaines today for a free legal consultation. With years of experience and a dedicated staff, we’re able to take over the logistical challenges and requirements of your claim and allow you to focus solely on recovering from your injury and taking care of your family.

Keep Track of All Injuries, Treatments, and Expenses

Keeping track of your injuries, treatments, and expenses can help you immensely throughout the claims process. To stay organized, we recommend creating a folder where you can keep medical receipts and records. Also try recording additional information such as:

  • Pain and symptoms caused by accident-related injuries
  • Time missed from work for medical care or recovery
  • Contact information for medical providers
  • Specific dates for medical appointments
  • Out-of-pocket expenses for co-pays or prescriptions
  • Attend All Medical Appointments

To ensure your recovery, it’s crucial to follow through on all of your medical appointments. Be sure to take any prescribed medications, attend physical therapy, and show up to any necessary doctor’s appointments. Not only will this help you heal faster, but it may also help you with your claim. If you fail to attend medical appointments, an insurance company may claim that either you are not actually injured, or that you needlessly extended your injuries by not following through on treatments. To recover quickly and remain prepared for a claim, it’s important to complete all recommended medical treatments.

Signs You Have a Potential Wrongful Death Case

Image of a lawyer signing papers - signs you may have a wrongful death claim in Washington or Oregon - OlsenDaines

If your loved one has died because of a third party, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. However, the case needs to meet certain criteria before you can claim compensation.

Signs You May Have a Wrongful Death Case

Many wrongful death claims involve negligence, meaning the defendant owed your loved one a duty of care and didn’t follow it. To classify as wrongful death, the death of a person from negligence or willful intent must be present. Wrongful death is especially common in medical malpractice cases in which the doctor failed to diagnose a condition leading to patient demise.

You also may have a claim if your loved one died because of a defective product they used correctly. Victims killed intentionally, such as a shooting or careless driving, are often signs you have a wrongful death case. Sometimes, fatal falls or other accidents on property caused by negligence are grounds to file a wrongful death case.

Who to Sue and Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Generally speaking, the surviving spouse, surviving children and any family members of the person who died, as well as anyone who is a beneficiary of the person’s estate, can bring a wrongful death action.

If the party passed because of a defective product, you could bring a lawsuit against the makers. A medical malpractice case may involve several parties, which include doctors, nurses, ER personnel, surgeons, and pharmacists. Premises liability laws allow you to sue landowners who didn’t fix a defect or set barriers for attractive nuisances.

Sometimes, a wrongful death claim is warranted for preventable incidents to get justice. However, certain groups are often protected by immunity laws, such as government officials. If you have questions, speak with an attorney at OlsenDaines before filing a claim. Our attorneys have extensive experience with wrongful death claims and can help you recover all of the damages to which you are entitled. Call us today to set up your free consultation.

What Should I Know About Filing a Wrongful Death Claim?

Filing a wrongful death claim can feel overwhelming, but an experienced attorney can guide you through the process. Before beginning, however, there are a few important things to know about filing a wrongful death claim:

  • Time to make a wrongful death claim is limited. In every state there is a set of laws known as the Statute of Limitations. These limit the amount of time that you have to file a lawsuit. Oregon and Washington residents have up to three years to file a wrongful death claim. And if the claim is against a public entity in Oregon, there’s a one year statute for sending a Tort Claim Notice to preserve your rights against the public body. Missing this timeline could prevent you from recovering damages.
  • You may be awarded specific types of damages. If your claim is successful, you may gain compensation for a variety of damages. Common wrongful death damages include medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of wages or inheritances, and loss of companionship.
  • You will need documentation to prevail in your case. For a successful claim, you will need to prove negligence. One of our attorneys can help you compile documentation to show that the defendant violated a legal duty to the deceased and that your loved one died as a result of that violation.

Wrongful Death Attorneys in Washington & Oregon

If your loved one died due to the negligence of others, don’t hesitate to consult one of the experienced attorneys at OlsenDaines. We are committed to guiding you through the process of making a wrongful death claim to recover all of the damages to which you are entitled. Call us today to schedule your free legal consultation.

Does Debt Disappear After Bankruptcy?

Does debt disappear after filing for bankruptcy? Debt relief attorneys at OlsenDaines in Oregon State

If you’ve found yourself battling against a mountain of debt, you may be considering bankruptcy as a way to get back on your feet. After all, filing for bankruptcy can be an effective method for relieving debt and regaining control over your finances. But, should you file for bankruptcy, will all of your debt disappear?

The answer to that question is a little complicated. Though bankruptcy can help relieve many different kinds of debt, there are some kinds that will stick with you. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, it’s important for you to know what kinds of debts are covered and which kinds are not.

What Debts Can Be Forgiven by Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy can help you regain financial stability by relieving a wide variety of debts. Your exact amount of relief, however, will largely depend on your specific situation and what kind of bankruptcy you qualify for. If you aren’t sure which path would be best for you, a bankruptcy attorney can help you find a solution that relieves as much debt as possible.

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is intended for individuals with a lower income and fewer nonessential assets. To qualify for this type, you have to pass a means test, which verifies your income. The types of debt that this chapter can cover include:

  • Medical bills
  • Overdue utility charges
  • Outstanding credit cards
  • Collection agency accounts
  • Lease agreement deficiencies
  • Checks written on insufficient funds

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is intended for individuals with more disposable income and more nonessential assets. This type of bankruptcy is considered “reorganization”, where you will create a payment plan to repay secured debts – such as alimony, child support, and mortgage delinquencies.

Depending on your specific situation, other types of debt may be reduced, but that is not always the case. Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be tricky to navigate, so it is best to contact a skilled bankruptcy attorney to determine the best approach for debt relief.

What Debts Cannot Be Forgiven by Bankruptcy?

Though bankruptcy can absolve many kinds of debt, there are a few types that usually cannot be discharged. The types of debt that bankruptcy generally cannot cover are:

  • Student loans
  • Alimony and child support
  • Tax debts

While these debts are generally not forgiven through bankruptcy, each person’s situation is different. A knowledgeable and experienced bankruptcy attorney can examine your unique circumstances to help you relieve as much debt as possible.

Experienced Debt Relief Attorneys

Bankruptcy can be difficult to navigate, and without the right guidance, you may miss
opportunities to relieve debt. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, contact the skilled bankruptcy attorneys at OlsenDaines in Washington and Oregon today. Our experienced lawyers understand the ins and outs of bankruptcy law, and they can help you get the best outcome possible for your situation. We can help you through any step of the process so you can regain financial security as easily and effectively as possible. Call us today to schedule your free legal consultation.

How to Avoid Debt This Holiday Season

How to avoid debt this holiday season in Salem OR - OlsenDaines bankruptcy attorneys

The reality of holiday debt usually doesn’t sink in until you get the bills or check accounts. Too much unpaid debt can cause your credit score to drop so we are sharing some tips to follow to avoid racking up holiday debt.

Pay in Cash When Possible

Statistics show 57% of Americans with credit card debt are willing to accrue more debt during the holidays. Gifts and décor commonly cause the most holiday debt, and since consumers rarely save for this, they charge for it.

Avoid this added debt by setting a little money aside each month to pay for gifts and holiday décor in cash. Leave your credit card at home to reduce the temptation to make spontaneous purchases, and use debit cards. Several studies have shown consumers spend less with cash, and it comes with less security risk.

Create a Budget and Make Lists

Decide how much you are going to spend, including travel, and ensure it doesn’t prevent you from making necessary payments. Make a list of things you need, a list for gifts, stick by it, and cross them off as you go.

Consider having some gifts be homemade, such as mixes in a jar, which you can often make for less than buying. If you are easily influenced by others, go shopping alone to avoid going over budget.

Use Credit Wisely

If you must use a credit card, try to stay within less than 20% of the limit, and don’t max them out. Set a budget the same as you would for cash, but check the remaining balance on the cards.

Use credit cards that give rewards for purchases and apply points you have already accumulated to gifts. Don’t be tempted to take out cash advances on your credit cards, because they often have high-interest rates.

Experts in Bankruptcy Law

With some careful planning, you can avoid falling into the holiday debt trap and you will enjoy the holidays better without the stress of debt.

We hope you have a great holiday season and if you need debt relief, consider OlsenDaines. We have offices all throughout Oregon and Washington with highly experienced bankruptcy attorneys ready to help! Just give us a call today to schedule a consultation. 

Debt Snowball vs Debt Avalanche

Debt snowball vs debt avalanche repayment methods with OlsenDaines in Oregon

This time of year many people are reviewing their finances in preparation for the holidays. For many, this means looking for ways to eliminate debt which can feel like an overwhelming task – especially without the right plan in place.

Thankfully, there are many different repayment strategies that you can choose in order to begin rapidly paying off your balance. Two of the most popular and effective debt repayment plans are known as the “snowball” and “avalanche” methods. While these tactics are similar, they have some key differences that can help you decide which strategy is best for you.

What is the Snowball Method?

With the debt snowball method, you pay off debts in order of smallest to largest balances. By putting the majority of your money toward loans with smaller balances and making minimum payments to all other debts, you can swiftly cut through your debts. This method is popular because it is easy to implement and provides quick results, which is great for building momentum and motivation.

What is the Avalanche Method?

In the debt avalanche method, you pay off loans based on interest rates. By targeting loans with higher interest rates first while making minimum payments to any other debts, you can quickly pay off debt while cutting down on the amount of interest you pay over time.

Though this tactic is great for eliminating debt quickly and with the least amount of interest, it is a little more difficult to implement and keep up with. The debt avalanche method also produces slower short-term results, which may be challenging for individuals who struggle with motivation.

Which Debt Repayment Method is Best?

Unfortunately, there is no “one-size-fits-all” plan when it comes to debt payment plans. It all comes down to which plan you can feasibly implement and keep up with – after all, no plan is useful if you won’t be able to stick to it. To help you determine which tactic may be better for you, here are some pros and cons of both debt repayment strategies:

Debt Avalanche

  • Eliminates debt faster
  • Reduces total interest paid
  • More difficult to implement
  • Takes more time to see results

Debt Snowball

  • Produces results quickly
  • Builds motivation and momentum
  • Takes more time to eliminate debt
  • Requires you to pay more interest

If you have a mountain of debt that you are struggling to pay, these repayment strategies may still feel too overwhelming. If that’s the case for you, it may be useful to contact a legal expert who can help you assess your options. That’s where the trusted professionals at OlsenDaines can come in handy! Our experienced attorneys are trusted all throughout Oregon and Washington. We are dedicated to helping you get your life back on track. Call us today for a free consultation!

Steps to Take If You Get Bit By a Dog

If you are bitten by a dog, contact the personal injury attorneys at OlsenDaines in Salem OR

Dogs may be loyal companions, but even the most friendliest and well-trained dog can snap. In fact, around 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. This is why pet owners are obligated to maintain control of their dogs whenever they’re out in public or have visitors at their homes. 

If you’re bitten by a dog, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and other associated damages. Follow these steps to keep yourself protected after a dog bite incident. 

Seek Medical Care

Your priority after being bitten by a dog should be your health. So if your dog bite was severe, get examined first to avoid infection. There’s also the risk of rabies, especially if the dog was a stray. 

Get the Dog Owner’s Information

Identify the dog’s owner and take down their name, address, and phone number. Request the dog’s information as well such as proof of vaccines. If someone else was taking care of the dog at the time, such as a pet sitter, you’ll want to get their contact information as well. If the dog was a stray, contact animal control so they can attempt to capture it. 

Gather Documentation

The more documentation you have about your dog bite incident, the better chances you have to collect damages. Take photos of your injuries, gather witness statements, and keep track of all your expenses involving the incident. If there are nearby security cameras, request a copy of the videos. If the dog escaped a yard because of a faulty gate latch or broken fence, take photos of those as well. 

Report the Dog Bite Incident

Filing a police report is essential if you want to win a dog bite lawsuit. So after you’ve sought medical care, contact law enforcement to come to the scene and file a police report. 

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

If you think you have grounds for a dog bite lawsuit, contact a personal injury attorney. They’ll evaluate the circumstances and explain your legal options. If the dog owner has insurance, filing a liability claim with the insurance provider may be recommended. Otherwise, filing a civil court case may be better. 

Dog Bite Attorneys in Oregon

If you’ve suffered a dog bite and want to know your legal options, contact OlsenDaines. We have offices in Oregon and Washington with personal injury attorneys ready to help you navigate every stage of the proceedings and negotiate with the opposing party. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!

How do I know if I have a consumer litigation case?

Do I have a consumer litigation case

Consumer protection laws exist to ensure that businesses are held accountable for deceptive practices and fraud. For example, “bait and switch” tactics, warranty misrepresentation, and identity theft. Consumer rights law also protects individuals who are harassed and threatened with collection calls. If you’ve been taken advantage of, exploited, misled, deceived by a product, corporation, or service provider, you may have a consumer litigation case. Keep reading to learn more about consumer rights and how you’re protected.

Common Types of Consumer Fraud

Breaches of consumer trust can include various scenarios and behaviors including:

  • Credit card fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Insurance fraud
  • Violations of internet privacy
  • Investor fraud
  • Mortgage foreclosure scams
  • Contractor fraud
  • Failure to honor warranties and returns

By no means is this a complete list. It also doesn’t reflect the range of consequences that can result from unfair business practices.

Who can start a consumer fraud act claim?

Consumers who believe they’ve been defrauded or purposefully deceived can file a lawsuit against the merchant responsible.

Consumer Protection Lawyer in Oregon

People who’ve been a victim of consumer fraud can lose hundreds, thousands, or even their entire life savings. If you believe you were victimized by a dishonest company but can’t quite put your finger on how they violated the law, contact OlsenDaines or call 503-222-2000 to talk with a consumer law attorney in Oregon and Washington. We handle all types of consumer fraud. We’ll explain your legal options clearly and honestly at your free consultation.

Should I Stop Paying Creditors If I’m Going to File for Bankruptcy?

Woman looking through bills. OlsenDaines, serving Oregon and Washington explains if you should stop paying creditors if you're going to file for bankruptcy.

If you’re choosing to file for bankruptcy, and you’re current on your debts, you may be asking yourself if you should stop paying creditors now.

Automatic Stay

The short answer is, no you shouldn’t stop paying creditors until you’ve officially filed. When you file for bankruptcy, the court will order an automatic stay which will prohibit lenders from making harassing collection calls, sending threatening letters, and trying to file lawsuits against you. But until then, they can continue to harass you so don’t be surprised if you suddenly stop making payments.

In most cases, the automatic stay remains in effect until your bankruptcy case is concluded. Keep in mind, it won’t stop every debt collector. Automatic stay orders will not halt child support, loans against your pension, or back taxes. And if you filed for bankruptcy in the previous year, the order will expire after 30 days.

  • Auto Loans: if you stop making payment on your auto loan, at some point the creditor will attempt to repossess your vehicle. If you want to keep the vehicle, you may want to continue making payments so you don’t run the risk of getting it repossessed.
  • Credit Cards: in most cases, people are fine not making their credit card payments, but you will likely be subjected to collection calls until you file for bankruptcy. If you just used a card before you realized you were going to file, you may want to continue to make payments. We recommend consulting with a bankruptcy attorney.
  • Home Loans: as with auto loans, if you stop making your mortgage payments, at some point the creditor will attempt to foreclose the home. If you want to keep it, you may want to continue making your monthly payments. Every case is different.

Bank Setoffs

If you’ve taken out loans through your bank or credit union and you’ve stopped making payments, they can institute a setoff. This allows them to withdraw money from one of your accounts to another to cover the loan payment. You may want to move your money around before missing a debt payment.

Experienced Bankruptcy Attorneys

Filing for bankruptcy can help you “start fresh” if you’re facing mounting debt and pressure from creditors. However, there are many missteps you should avoid in the months and weeks leading up to filing.

To ensure you reach your financial goals, it’s best to work with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. OlsenDaines has vast experience with bankruptcy. In fact, we’re the top bankruptcy filer in Oregon. We’ll help you navigate the process and get your life back on track. To schedule your free initial consultation, contact us today!

Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

Car and bike crash. OlsenDaines, serving Oregon and Washington talks about the benefits of hiring a personal injury lawyer.

Whether you were seriously injured in an auto accident or a slip and fall accident at a store, you may be entitled to damages if it was due to someone else’s negligence. However, it isn’t always easy or straightforward to get a fair settlement. This is why it’s important to hire a personal injury lawyer.

Here are some main benefits of hiring a personal injury lawyer.

Peace of Mind

An experienced personal injury lawyer will dedicate themselves to represent you so you can focus on recovering. Serious injuries are not just physical. They can also cause stress and trauma. A great personal injury lawyer will give you the peace of mind you need to get made whole again.

Faster Compensation

When you hire a personal injury lawyer as soon as you’ve suffered an accident, they’ll file a personal injury claim for you while you’re still recovering so you’ll receive your compensation that much sooner than trying to do it yourself.

Legal Coverage

Quite often, the offending party will contest the personal injury claim against them, hiring a lawyer and taking you to court. If you don’t have a lawyer on your side, the odds are against you. Hiring a personal injury lawyer to represent you will level the playing field. They’ll gather evidence and develop the right strategy for your case, pursuing it vigorously for you.

Negotiation

Insurance companies spend millions of dollars on attorneys to ensure they pay as little as possible on personal injury claims. They also have techniques to persuade people to accept unfair settlement offers, even without an attorney. They’re not after your best interest. When you hire a seasoned personal injury lawyer who’s experienced in negotiating with insurance companies, you can expect higher compensation.

Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

If you or someone you know was hurt in an accident caused by someone else, you need to hire a personal injury lawyer to help recover the compensation you deserve. At OlsenDaines, we know how overwhelming and traumatic a personal injury can be. We’ll take the pain out of personal injury recovery. We offer free consultations, reasonable fees, and are committed to getting our clients the relief they need. To schedule an appointment contact us today. We have offices all throughout Washington and Oregon with personal injury lawyers ready to fight for you.