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In the 12 months prior to March 1, 2020, California ranked first in the country for the number of individuals filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy (nearly 35,000) and ranked second for individuals filing Chapter 13 (nearly 12,000). That was before the COVID-19 pandemic shattered the economy.

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Filing for bankruptcy may be the best — and sometimes, the only — option to get out from under crushing debt. While getting that fresh start may be right for you, it does come with some repercussions, including damage to your credit score that can keep you from getting a mortgage, auto loan, or other types of credit for years.

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Woman looking at debt papers while working on a calculator

The average household credit card debt in California stands at $10,496, the fourth highest in the nation, while the average mortgage debt in the Golden State has reached a whopping $363,537. Since that time, household and business incomes have both suffered severe fluctuations, while home prices throughout the state have continued their seemingly unending rise.

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Texting while driving car. Irresponsible man sending sms and using smartphone.

In 2019, nearly 60% of California drivers surveyed said they had been hit or nearly hit by a driver who was texting or talking on a mobile phone. 51% admitted they had made mistakes while driving and using their phone. Every year in California, distracted drivers cause thousands of accidents, with many resulting in significant injury or death.

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Life's financial curveballs can sideline you from paying bills or meeting your other financial needs. If you think bankruptcy is the right step for you, it’s important that you understand how to navigate the bankruptcy process and what you need to do to protect yourself.

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In 2019, there were about 493,066 properties with foreclosure filings, representing 0.36 percent of all housing units in the United States. Due to nonpayment, your mortgage lender can repossess your house legally through foreclosure.

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If you are hurt in an accident and are trying to understand how personal injury claims work, or what to expect when you file, it’s important to consult with a knowledgeable California personal injury attorney. The Winter Law Group can provide experienced legal guidance and explain your options for filing a claim.

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Many people hesitate to file for bankruptcy for fear of losing their possessions. However, the court has no interest in making people live in poverty in order to pay off debt. You have rights and options under the law.

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