There are many situations that we deal with as personal injury attorneys in Georgia, and oftentimes the outcome of a situation is difficult to predict. However, in this economy, there are several precedents emerging for the victims of accidents who later file for bankruptcy that may involve losing the proceeds from a personal injury claim.
If you have been the victim of an accident and you are faced with personal bankruptcy, the law offices of David Van Sant strongly advises caution in your proceedings. The laws vary from state to state, and the findings in bankruptcy court will vary from case to case, but, if you file for bankruptcy because you are unable to work as a the result of an injury, the bankruptcy court may rule that the settlement you receive should be divided first among your creditors.
There are certain exemptions that may apply to your individual case, but the general rule is that, if you cannot claim the potential lawsuit recovery as exempt from consideration in your bankruptcy case, the trustee on your bankruptcy can take the money.
Timing is a key element in a complicated case that involves a personal injury settlement and later bankruptcy. Bankruptcy exemptions play a big role in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies, and a bankruptcy attorney may be required to help you sort through the exemptions that are available to you. Each state has its own exemptions, and the federal government has another set.
Cases involving personal injury and bankruptcy can become even more complicated when a minor child is involved in and injured in an accident that his or her parents are not involved in. A teenager, for example, who is involved in an accident, may receive personal injury settlements that do not flow to the parents except for purposes of paying medical or other expenses associated with the minor child.
If you are injured in an accident, you need a competent personal injury attorney. Even if the situation seems minor at the time, future issues, such as a family bankruptcy, could complicate the matter down the road. An attorney can help ensure that you have documentation of all issues associated with your personal injury claims and/or judgments.
For more information on personal injury law in Georgia, contact David Van Sant, an Atlanta personal injury attorney.