Bankruptcy and Personal Injuries

An injury that has occurred at the hands of a negligent party, can be incredibly frustrating. Chances are, you will be left to contend with physical pain, lengthy recovery periods, missed time away from work and exorbitant medical bills. This may call for an accident victim to take action in order to recover from their losses. Amidst all of this, you may be seriously struggling financially. At some point, you may even consider whether you should file for bankruptcy. However, it’s important to consult with a lawyer who has experience in this area of practice. The last thing you want is to put your personal injury settlement at risk should you pursue the bankruptcy process. It’s only natural that you may have questions over how your claim will be valued and whether filing for bankruptcy is in your best interest. Here are some common questions accident victims considering bankruptcy may have:

What type of bankruptcy should I file if I am expecting a personal injury settlement?

When you file for bankruptcy, you have the ability to keep a certain amount of assets. These are known as exemptions. Depending upon the state you live in, the exemptions you can keep can vary. If you qualify, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the most attractive option because it liquidates all of your debts and allows for you to have a clean slate. Again, this form of bankruptcy will allow you to keep certain assets. However, it’s always best to consult with a lawyer for guidance.

Will my personal injury settlement be at risk if I file for bankruptcy?

If you have already received your personal injury settlement and still must consider bankruptcy, it’s important to be aware that your settlement will be part of your estate. This means that it may be used to pay off your debts. When you file for bankruptcy, you will have to disclose all of your assets, including your settlement. Failing to disclose this information could have disastrous effects. 

Should I file for bankruptcy before or after I receive my settlement?

When making decisions around this, timing is everything. If you file for bankruptcy, and your injury predates your filing, any settlement you are awarded is likely to be used to pay off your dates. The only exception to this is if your settlement qualifies as an exemption. However, if the date that you become entitled to your settlement occurs 180 days after your bankruptcy filing, your settlement may not be considered property of the bankruptcy estate. Again, if your bankruptcy occurred prior to filing, it will be considered an asset in your bankruptcy filing. 

Why should I contact a lawyer before making any decisions about how to move forward?

Whether you are contending with a personal injury case or bankruptcy filing, the process can be complex. When facing both of these at the same time, making decisions may be especially complicated. Because of this, you will need to speak with a lawyer before you take action. When bankruptcy is concerned, one wrong move can certainly put your settlement at risk. For the help you need in determining how to move forward, contact a lawyer as soon as possible. 

Experiencing financial problems that have been the result of a personal injury at the hands of another person can be devastating. It’s only natural that you will be unsure of where to turn or what to do next. For guidance and a clear path for how to move forward, contact a bankruptcy lawyer in Melbourne, FL who has experience in bankruptcy and personal injury as soon as possible. 

Thanks to the Law Offices of Arcadier, Biggie & Wood for their insight into bankruptcy law and personal injuries.