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Debt Relief – Insolvency – Bankruptcy Information » Bankruptcy Law » After winning my personal injury case in court the defendents filed bankruptcy. So my attorney says.?

After winning my personal injury case in court the defendents filed bankruptcy. So my attorney says.?

He has never sent any correspondence letter or anything to me since I won the case. I’m pretty sure that he put a lien on their assests before we took them to court. Can an attorney find other ways to collect even after they file bankruptcy?

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7 Responses to "After winning my personal injury case in court the defendents filed bankruptcy. So my attorney says.?"

  1. wizjp says:
    If the bankruptcy court decides to rule the judgement as released, there isn’t much you can do. I’d start by getting a copy of the bankruptcy court filing and reviewing it with your atty
  2. sensible_man says:
    Not sure of all the legalities but I know you will be contacted as a “debt holder” and have the right to go to the court hearing to argue your case there.
  3. Morgan R says:
    personal injury awards are not dischargable in bankruptcy!
    Criminal fines and debts — All court fees and court-ordered judgments related to any criminal activity cannot be discharged — neither are any judgments or debts incurred as a result of personal injury or death to others caused by your own negligence or criminal activity;
  4. Tracey Seth says:
    You may still be able to collect some, although probably not as much as you were awarded.

    It also depends on the chapter filed. If it’s personal bankruptcy, then a Chapter 13 will give you more money than a Chapter 7…which will probably leave you with nothing.

    If it’s a corporation or business filing, then it gets even more complicated and drawn out. You may still have a chance to recover something, but you may be in for a long haul.

    Totally sucks. I feel for you.

  5. Bob says:
    Bankruptcy does NOT excuse debts that are judgments due to torts. There is some limits to what can be collected and how much wage garnishments (no more than 25% if I remember law classes correctly) can be applied and things of that nature, however a bankruptcy doesn’t negate the debt.

    This is a real case – a guy sucker punched another guy in a bar, just for the hell of it. Ended up breaking his cheekbone. So, the guy had $40,000 approximately in medical bills, lost wages, etc. Sued for $85,000 (pain & suffering added to the bills), and won. It took over 5 years of constant harassment because the defendant signed over all his assets to his family members so he owned nothing (on paper), and didn’t work a regular job so they couldn’t garnish his wages, and so on. Finally settled for $50,000, of which the plaintiff’s lawyer got about half.

    Basically – personal property seizure and auction would be first, then wage garnishment. After that, things get really hard to collect.

    Really though – your lawyer should be able to explain to you all the possibilities, and then tell you what steps will be taken to pursue the collection of the judgment. If he doesn’t, or if he is blowing you off, perhaps it’s time for a new lawyer.

  6. MLaw says:
    A bankruptcy filing constitutes an automatic stay of all collection proceedings — including lien enforcement. All future efforts must be within the bankruptcy proceeding rules.
    Your attorney should contact you & explain the situation and what future options you have. The one thing you should do is make sure your attorney files your claim as a creditor in the bankruptcy proceeding.
  7. dodobird247 says:
    As a judgment creditor, you should be getting a notice from a bankruptcy trustee in the mail shortly. Assuming that the defendants are individuals who filed for Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy, all attempts of debt collection are “automatically stayed” under the Bankruptcy Code – meaning that no creditor can collect anything untill the bankruptcy proceedings are over (which can last 2-3 months or even years), or unless they can successfully petition the court to lift the stay. All of defendants’ assets go into a bankruptcy estate which is supervised by a trustee for the benefit of all creditors. Since you are a judgment creditor, you will have to wait for a distribution by the trustee, although you do have priority over those general unsecured creditors (e.g. credit card companies). Unfortunately, it is almost certain that you won’t recover the entire judgment you are entitled to, or anything at all, b/c as you may already know, debtors don’t lose everything they own even if they filed for bankruptcy. These things are absolutely “untouchable” unless you are one of the 3 supercreditors (i.e. the tax man, the mortgage company, and the mechanics lienholder). The assets that have the most value but are exempt from the creditors are: the house, the family car, personal jewelry up to a certain amount.

    Your personal injury attorney may be really good at what he does, but the Bankruptcy Code is very complex, especially after the 2005 Amendment, which involved many changes. You should contact a good bankruptcy attorney who specializes in this field, and usually the initial consultation is free.

    Something else that may work if you haven’t tried yet: The defendants’ insurance company, if they had one at the time of the occurance. Good luck!

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