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Shelbyville Law Blog

New chemical hazard discovered with water pipe repairs

Chemical safety is important in many work environments, and Kentucky residents might like to know about a study involving water pipe repair. A procedure often used to repair water pipes might pose hazards for workers, the public and the environment.

Purdue University researchers conducted a study involving air tests after pipe repairs using the cured-in-place pipe repair process. With CIPP repairs, a tube is inserted into a damaged pipe to create a new plastic pipe through curing with ultraviolet light, hot water or pressurized steam. The study looked at storm-water pipe and sanitary sewer-pipe installations. Previously, it was assumed that CIPP was safe. It was thought that steam occurred when using the CIPP method, but this steam was actually chemical plumes. The plumes contain organic vapors and compounds, which include endocrine disruptors and carcinogens. CIPP technology is said to be used in about half of all U.S. water pipe repairs.

The hazards of confined spaces in construction

A confined space like an office cubicle might not be pleasing to work in, but in the construction industry, confined spaces can be dangerous or even deadly. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued guidance about the safety of confined spaces in that line of work.

OSHA has issued a new fact sheet on confined spaces safety standards. Confined spaces in construction work can include basements, crawl spaces and attics. The safety standards affect confined spaces that are large enough for a worker to enter but have limited means of entry and exit and that are not designed for continuous occupancy.

Truck accidents and your rights as an accident victim

Large trucks are crucial to the American economy because they transport various goods back and forth across the country. With their important role, however, comes a higher risk of inflicting serious injuries in an accident. Due to their heavier weight and larger size, a semitrailer truck has the ability to cause serious damage to smaller vehicles, even in a low speed crash. 

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, people in passenger vehicles are more likely to die when involved in an accident with a semitrailer. One of the main reasons for this is the heavier weight, often 20 to 30 times more than smaller vehicles, as well as the higher clearance, which can lead to a large truck overriding a smaller vehicle.

Debt consolidation might not fend off bankruptcy

Getting a debt consolidation loan could present a good strategy to someone in Kentucky struggling to keep up with debts, especially on credit card accounts. After paying off high-interest debts with a lower-rate loan, a person might achieve financial stability unless poor spending habits and unexpected bills undermine the plan.

This scenario unfolded for one man who had already gone through a bankruptcy in 2005. Ten years later, he acquired a five-year loan from his credit union for $17,000, which he used to clear out the debts on 10 credit card accounts. Although a lower 8-percent rate now applied to his debt and his monthly payment had gone down, he started to fall behind on payments a year later when financial hardships hit.

How does wage garnishment work and how can I make it stop?

Overwhelming debt can have a serious impact on various areas of your life. One of the most significant and disruptive of these effects is the collection efforts that creditors may undertake to recover some of what you currently owe. Wage garnishment is an aggressive way to do this, and it involves losing a certain amount of your income to pay for specific debts.

Wage garnishment is the withholding of a portion of your earned wages for the payment of certain debts. When you are already struggling financially and unable to manage all of your payments, this can be devastating for your family. You may feel angry, frustrated and overwhelmed by your situation, but you may have the power to make it stop.

Retirement fund exemptions available in bankruptcy

The months leading up to the choice to file bankruptcy can be demoralizing and stressful, but Kentucky residents in financial distress often look forward to the benefits of court intervention and a fresh financial start. One of those benefits is asset protection. Rules for protection of assets differ under Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. The family home and transportation are typically protected, but debtors may remain uncertain about the safety of their retirement accounts.

Chapter 7 offers a relatively quick plan to sell off nonexempt assets and satisfy or discharge all unsecured debt, whereas Chapter 13 considers nonexempt assets in determining eligibility and crafting a payment plan. It turns out that retirement accounts in many cases, including IRAs, 401(k)s and even 529 college savings plans, are exempt under federal law. However, some circumstances may result in a full or partial denial of exemption.

CFPB issues new rule regarding arbitration clauses

Individuals in Kentucky and throughout the country may soon find that it is easier to bring legal challenges against banks and credit card companies. On July 10, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a new rule stating that companies cannot use arbitration clauses to prevent class-action lawsuits. These clauses have traditionally made it harder for consumers to take action against such entities. Many consumers aren't aware that such clauses exist in their bank or credit card contracts.

The clauses force consumers into private arbitrations instead of cases that can be made public, and this eliminates the option for a class-action suit if many people have been harmed. However, not everyone is convinced that this is a good thing. According to a representative from the Consumer Bankers Association, the lawyers will benefit instead of the consumers.

Distracted driving: Always dangerous, always negligent

Distracted driving is always dangerous driving, no matter what. Many Kentucky drivers believe that they are safer because they use hands-free devices and do not text and drive, but that is not always the case. It is certainly beneficial when a driver puts down the phone while operating a vehicle, but even with both hands on the wheel, distraction can happen.

Cognitive distraction happens when a driver is mentally unfocused on the task at hand. This can happen for many reasons, but it is always dangerous to be unfocused. Just one moment of distraction can have devastating consequences, and innocent people can suffer because of this type of negligence.

Bankruptcy judge finds debtor did not abuse Chapter 7

Encouraging signals of growth in the economy aside, some Kentucky residents are still suffering from creditor harassment and in need of debt relief. Filing for bankruptcy is never an easy choice, and it can become complicated when considering how the options could impact individual situations. One Virginia court decision showed how a Chapter 7 case may play out, and the results could provide encouragement to a debtor seeking this route.

A married man sought Chapter 7 relief. His justification was that debt incurred by two mortgages and $60,000 in student loan debt left him unable to handle his monthly expenses. The trustee in his case reported to the court that those expenses included a second home that his wife had purchased. The trustee considered that sale of one home would help satisfy the man's obligation to creditors under Chapter 7.

Credit card payments could rise after Fed rate hike

Borrowers in Kentucky and across the United States are likely to see their payments rise following interest rate hikes announced by the Federal Reserve on June 14. Credit cards, home equity loans and adjustable rate mortgages all base their variable interest rates on the Federal Reserve benchmark. Fixed rate loans, on the other hand, remain the same regardless of the Fed's rates.

The Federal Reserve's federal funds rate, used by banks to charge each other for quick overnight loans, has been rock-bottom since 2008 and the mortgage, financial and banking crisis. Over the past two years, it has crept up to 1.25 percent and further hikes are expected in 2017 and beyond

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