The Relationship between Bankruptcy and Personal Injury Law in Georgia
The issue of the interplay between bankruptcy and personal injury claims is a topic that is not widely discussed but can have an enormous impact on injury victims that seek bankruptcy protection. If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, a fall from a scaffolding on a construction site or a pedestrian accident in an Atlanta crosswalk, or any other accident, the possibility that you may file bankruptcy is an important issue that should be disclosed to your personal injury attorney. While it may seem strange to discuss bankruptcy in the context of an Atlanta personal injury blog, damages recovered as part of a personal injury claim may constitute an asset that must be disclosed to the bankruptcy trustee and creditors in a subsequent Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing.
If you were injured prior to filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or in the middle of a Chapter 13 payment plan when you are injured, you must disclose the personal injury claim to the bankruptcy trustee. Those who are required to disclose their personal injury claim to the bankruptcy court will need to do the following:
• Notify your bankruptcy attorney of the potential personal injury claim
• Let your personal injury attorney know that you have filed or may file a bankruptcy
• Seek permission from the bankruptcy court to proceed with the personal injury claim
• Obtain the approval of the bankruptcy judge for your personal injury attorney to represent you in civil court on your injury claim
While you may be required to disclose your personal injury claim, there are bankruptcy exemptions that may permit you to shield some or all of your personal injury recovery from availability for disbursement to your creditors in a Chapter 7. For example, there is a specific personal injury recovery exemption in Georgia up to $10,000, an exemption for wrongful death recoveries needed for financial support and other exemptions that may apply. The bottom line is that if you filed bankruptcy or plan to do so, this is an issue that needs to be discussed with your personal injury attorney who can explain the specific impact of bankruptcy on your personal injury claim. There also may be relevant strategic considerations regarding the timing and continuation of a bankruptcy if you have recovered personal injury damages so you should also make sure that you discuss this with your bankruptcy lawyer.
Put Our Law Firm's Over 35 Years of Experience to Work For You
Our Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to answer your questions about personal injury claims and to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.