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All Press Releases for January 09, 2013 »
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Hurricane Sandy Causes More Financial Woes for New Yorkers

Hurricane Sandy may result in an uptick of bankruptcy filings as home and business owners scramble to repair property damage.
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    January 09, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- In the aftermath of Hurricane/"Superstorm" Sandy, the world watched as resilient New Yorkers braved the wind, rain, snow and cold to begin rebuilding their lives. While the property damage can likely be repaired with the help of insurance payments and laborers willing to toil in harsh, wintry conditions, the economic impact on the region will last much longer.

The data

A study by researcher Robert Lawless at the University of Illinois College of Law has demonstrated a causal link between hurricanes (and other large-scale natural disasters) and bankruptcy filings. His findings surprisingly show that not only do filings increase immediately following a hurricane, but the affected area will see a higher than normal bankruptcy rate for years after the storm has come and gone.

Lawless and other economic experts estimate that hurricane zones experience about an 11 percent increase in bankruptcy filings in the first 12 months after a storm; the estimate jumps to 30 percent five years from when the storm first made landfall.

The possibilities

Some fear that the impact of Hurricane Sandy will be even more long-term since it has so heavily affected New York, one of the country's most densely populated states and a unique microcosm of residents covering the entire range of America's financial strata. The impact on the country's job market hasn't yet been fully realized, but it is logical to think that damaged businesses will need to make staffing changes that could force people who were barely scraping by before the storm to seek bankruptcy protection or a mortgage modification.

The federal government realizes the financial devastation that can be wrought by a storm like Sandy, and makes the process of filing for bankruptcy after a natural disaster a bit easier. The process is still complex, though, and should probably be handled by an experienced bankruptcy attorney with in-depth knowledge of the law, but the level of financial proof required can be adjusted for people in storm-ravaged areas where property damage could prevent access to concrete financial data like tax returns or W-2 forms.

Moving forward

Regardless of whether you are thinking about a bankruptcy filing because of damage to your home or business from Hurricane Sandy, or you have other debt management issues that are plaguing you, there are legal options available to help you. Contact a bankruptcy lawyer in your area to learn more about your legal rights and what options are best suited to your unique financial situation.

Article provided by Macco & Stern, L.L.P.
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