Your Personal Injury Case And An Opponent's Bankruptcy
Do you need to sue a party who was liable for your accident in order to get the compensation you need? If so, you face not only the task of winning a judgment in court but also enforcing it to get the damages paid.
One trick that defendants use to avoid paying those damages is to declare bankruptcy. How might this affect your case? Should you pursue it, or should you make a course correction? Here are a few answers to your important questions.
Can They File Bankruptcy To Stop The Case?
Filing for bankruptcy protection automatically pauses nearly all collection efforts. This includes pending lawsuits. However, you and your legal team may petition the bankruptcy court to waive the automatic stay for your case only.
This is generally done if the judgment is likely to be non-dischargeable or if insurance will cover it. In these cases, you often should continue the case.
Can They Declare Bankruptcy Afterward?
Unfortunately, a defendant who lost in court may file bankruptcy afterward in order to get the judgment discharged. How successful this will be depends on the financial details involved. If the person has money left over after paying other debts, you may still see a partial payment of your judgment.
Similarly, if the insurance policy's limits will cover some or all of the judgment, you can still get paid by the carrier. In this case, you may opt to continue fighting for your rights.
What If They Are Abusing The System?
Is it clear that the defendant is just declaring bankruptcy in order to stop you from suing them? Then you may have a case for bankruptcy fraud. Vengeful bankruptcy claims are a misuse of the bankruptcy system, so the court may allow you to restart and continue your case. You'll need to prove your accusation, of course.
Are There Others You Can Pursue?
If you're unlikely to get full compensation from this defendant, don't give up entirely. There may be other parties who share liability. This could be anyone from the owner of the property on which (or from which) you were injured, the driver's employer or parent, or even the city or county responsible for road maintenance. These may have deeper pockets and be worth investigating further.
Where Should You Start?
What is the best way to make the right decision about your personal injury case and get as much compensation as possible? Meet with a firm in your state today, such as Michael E Carroll & Associates. With legal assistance, you'll find the best route to the financial help you deserve.