Coronavirus and Bankruptcy Myths and Facts
Once the Coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic, panic spread exponentially. Whether you hear information about coronavirus on the news, radio, on social media, or from friends and family, it can be hard to keep straight which facts are accurate. Luckily, our Tucson bankruptcy law firm is here to provide information for both COVID-19 and the financial consequences it may cause.
– Coronavirus is just like the flu: While the two illnesses have similar symptoms, coronavirus has a much higher mortality rate. It also is a novel virus, so no one has built up immunity to it yet.
-Everyone with coronavirus has symptoms like a fever, dry cough, etc.: Some coronavirus patients don’t start showing symptoms for up to 12 days. Some test positive but never show symptoms at all.
-My creditors can’t garnish my wages or repossess my property because of the government’s actions to prevent economic decline: Your creditors can still seek judgments against you and proceed with garnishments and repossessions. The government hasn’t enacted anything yet to halt these forms of collection. Communicate with our Tucson bankruptcy law firm to learn more.
-Only the elderly and immunocompromised are at risk of catching coronavirus: While the elderly and immunocompromised are more susceptible to coronavirus, everyone else still has a risk of catching it. The youngest person to die from coronavirus so far was a newborn.
-You currently can’t file bankruptcy due to quarantine orders: Some courthouses are still open, and bankruptcies can be filed electronically. Check with your local court to see if they are still open and what kind of restrictions they have on electronic filing.
-The pandemic won’t affect the automatic stay of protection provided by bankruptcy: Once you file your case (electronically), an automatic stay of protection goes into effect. The stay prevents forms of debt collection including wage garnishment, foreclosure, and repossession. While bankruptcy court dates are being delayed, the stay remains in effect until the case is discharged or dismissed. It’s best to consult with a Tucson chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer to learn about this process and how it can help you.
-Unemployment is up: A record 3.3 million people filed for unemployment last week. The last highest week for unemployment was 665,000 in 2009.
-The spread of coronavirus can be stymied by hand washing, hand sanitizer, and other preventative measures: This is true, and should be combined with social distancing/self-isolation. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, you could be carrying the virus and spread it to someone more vulnerable.
-Hospitality businesses are being hit especially hard: Many states are now under quarantine orders that only allow restaurants to serve takeout and drive-through. Business, and therefore hours, are decreased for back of the house. Wages of front of house staff are reduced if not entirely eliminated. Travel is discouraged, so transportation and hotels are seeing far less customers. Major events, such as the Olympics and Coachella, are being canceled or postponed, so those cities won’t see expected influxes in income from visitors.
-A Tucson Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help if you fall behind on payments: If you are behind on vehicle or mortgage payments, you can spread out the arrearages in a monthly payment plan that will last 3-5 years. Any foreclosure or repossession efforts will be stopped as long as you keep making your monthly payments from when you file, and your case isn’t dismissed. The plan will be based on your income and expenses, and you will pay all or a portion of your unsecured debts as well.
During this time of uncertainty, one of the best ways to protect yourself is by staying informed. If you were struggling financially before the pandemic began, it has likely made things worse. You don’t need to leave your home to file bankruptcy and take advantage of the protections it provides. Our office offers free phone consultations so you can discuss your options with an experienced professional. Call our Tucson bankruptcy lawyers and schedule your free consultation today.