How do I Handle my Personal Injury Case When I Have a Bankruptcy In Atlanta Georgia?

If you have a personal injury claim arising from an accident in Atlanta, Georgia and you are also in an active bankruptcy case or plan on filing bankruptcy, you should consult an attorney who is familiar with both personal injury and bankruptcy law to guide you through the process. A personal injury claim is an asset that needs to be disclosed when you file bankruptcy, and any settlements of the claim must be approved by the bankruptcy court.

When you file either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Atlanta, Georgia, you must list your personal injury claim, whether it arises from a car accident, trucking accident, slip and fall, employment discrimination, or medical malpractice matter, as a personal asset on the personal property schedule of the bankruptcy petition. The personal injury claim or the proceeds that you could receive from the claim are considered assets of the bankruptcy estate. That does not necessarily prevent you from keeping the personal injury money if you are in bankruptcy because you are entitled to some exemptions or protections under Georgia law that will allow you to retain a portion of the recovery.

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy trustee may take an interest in your personal injury claim and will be entitled to take the proceeds to pay back your creditors. Again, pursuant to the Georgia bankruptcy exemptions, a debtor may be able to retain a portion of the personal injury proceeds, even if the personal injury recovery is less than the amount of debt owed in the bankruptcy case.

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are required to remit any disposable income as payment into your case. Thus, if you recover personal injury proceeds, then you must pay the proceeds to the Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If the amount recovered is less than the amount of money you owe to creditors in the Chapter 13 plan and you can show the court that you need the money for expenses such as car repairs, home repairs, or other necessities, then you may petition the court to keep the personal injury money. On the other hand, if your personal injury proceeds are more than the debt you owe to creditors, then you can pay the entire Chapter 13 plan off and your case will be closed and discharged and you will be entitled to keep the balance of your personal injury proceeds.

If you have a personal injury attorney who represents you separately from the bankruptcy, your attorney will have to obtain approval from the bankruptcy court in order to proceed with a claim or case for personal injury.

If you are looking for a lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia who can assist you with the connection between personal injury and bankruptcy law, please call the Law Offices of Charles Clapp at 404.585.0040 for a consultation.