I’m always saddened when a Will County bankruptcy client who has been seriously injured faces financial issues in addition to health issues. Unfortunately, health and money problems frequently go hand in hand. In addition to dealing with mounting medical bills you may not be able to work. If you don’t work you don’t get paid, or you get paid a small portion of your previous earnings through disability insurance. In situations like these, your debt may grow until it far outweighs your assets. You may no longer be able to keep up with your bills. When financial problems become severe, you may need to file bankruptcy.
If you’ve filed a personal injury lawsuit but also need to file bankruptcy, you may wonder how this will impact your case. You may be under the erroneous impression that filing bankruptcy means that you lose every cent and possession you own. What you might not know is that there are certain “exemptions,” or property you are allowed to keep.
Depending upon your situation, you may be able to protect your lawsuit, or at least a portion of it. Depending upon the laws in your state, personal injury compensation may be exempt up to a certain amount. For example, in Illinois, personal injury compensation is exempt up to $15,000. You may receive additional personal injury revenue if in compensation for future earnings. Workers compensation benefits and death revenues for a person you depended upon may also be exempt.
When you file bankruptcy all of your assets, including your personal injury suit, become property of your bankruptcy estate. In order to claim an exemption, you must first list the asset. If the asset is not disclosed, you can’t exempt it.
There are a few other good reasons to include your personal injury case in your list of assets. First of all, it’s illegal not to. Second, if you fail to disclose your personal injury case in your bankruptcy filing, you can bet the insurance company’s attorney will try to get your case dismissed.
Chances are, your Joliet bankruptcy attorney and your Will County personal injury attorney will be two different individuals. In order to ensure the best outcome for both your bankruptcy and your personal injury suit, make sure that both attorneys are aware of the other situation. You can recover from both bankruptcy and injury, but it helps to have the right legal guidance.