Personal injuries can result in significant medical expenses, which often can cause financial strain. If another party caused your injuries, you may file a legal claim against that party for personal injury liability. If you prevail, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost income, bodily injury, pain and suffering, and more.
Another method of relief from financial problems is to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court appoints a trustee to your case who will seize any eligible assets or property to liquidate and pay toward your debts as much as possible. Many bankruptcy filers wonder whether they are at risk of losing their personal injury settlement to the trustee.
While each case is different, there are ways to protect your personal injury settlement or award. First, the law sets out exemptions that allow you to protect part or all of your award. In addition, compensation for certain losses – such as bodily injury – can be protected. However, compensation for pain and suffering may be vulnerable. The best way to protect as much as possible is to consult with an experienced attorney who understands how to use bankruptcy exemption in your favor.
Claims Against Bankruptcy Filers
If you are filing for bankruptcy and have a pending personal injury claim against you, the good news is that the automatic stay that goes into place when the bankruptcy is filed will halt the case against you. Often, bankruptcy will also protect you from new claims being filed or from people trying to collect on existing injury judgments. However, in cases when the court suspects deceit or fraud, it may allow to you remain vulnerable to personal injury claims. This recently happened to General Motors. If no wrongdoing is suspected, you can be protected against injury claims and payouts if you also have a pending bankruptcy case.
Call 201-498-9768 today for more information.
The relationship between personal injury and bankruptcy cases can be complicated. However, you do not want to risk having to forfeit the settlement or award you successfully pursued. If you are on the other side of a personal injury claim, you want to ensure your bankruptcy does not leave you with significant liability after your discharge. In either situation, you should contact the Law Office of John L. Schettino for help. A New Jersey bankruptcy attorney can help with every aspect of your case, so please call us today.