Despite the negative stigma attached to it, there are many reasons that people file for bankruptcy and it isn’t always that a person has been financially irresponsible. According to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, there were 1,072,805 bankruptcy filings during the 2013 fiscal year, ending on Sept. 30 2013. Contrary to popular belief, most of these filers did not have much choice in the matter.
A study conducted by American Consumer Credit Counseling in 2013 revealed that 42 percent of all bankruptcies filed in the United States were the result of medical bills. Injuries, sicknesses and diseases which require medical attention are often unavoidable.
In addition, while the next natural thought might be that those struggling with medical bills are uninsured, another study shows that it couldn’t be farther from the truth. According to a study conducted by Harvard University, 78 percent of people who filed for bankruptcy due to exorbitant medical bills all had health insurance.
We live under a health care system where medical costs are insanely high and even making co-payments can prove difficult and financially detrimental. It’s very difficult, if not impossible, for an average American family to save up for medical expenses, because they are often unexpected and you can’t entirely plan for them.
The second most common reason for bankruptcy was unemployment, which accounted for 22 percent of all filings. Credit card debt ranked as a close third at 15 percent, divorce was next at eight percent and unexpected disasters rounded out the top five reasons, at seven percent, according to Clearbankruptcy.com.
As one can see, other than credit card debt, these other causes are likely not the fault of the bankruptcy filer. In these cases, the filer is often left with no choice but bankruptcy, or continues to drown in sea of debt while fending off creditors.
By filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 protection, people are able to fight back against the curves that life throws and often can discharge or reorganize their debt. If you’ve been hit with an astronomical medical bill, are unsure of your finances following divorce, or are attempting to recover financially from a natural disaster, you have options.
Contact the Law Office of Joel R. Spivack today for a risk-free consultation to discuss your situation and your options. For more than 20 years, Joel R. Spivack, Esq. has been helping NJ residents get a fresh financial start.