When a Car Accident Leads to Bankruptcy


November 20, 2018

Bankruptcy Lawyer Tampa, FL

Being involved in a car accident can be both financially and physically devastating. To make matters worse, you may find yourself in serious financial crisis if the accident was deemed at least partially your fault. If you did not have full coverage or could not afford to have insurance at the time of the accident, you may be left struggling to overcome this financial setback. Many people in such a situation, may consider meeting with an attorney about filing for bankruptcy.

Factors of the Accident

If you were decidedly responsible for the car collision and cannot keep up on debts, then you may want to meet with a legal professional about your bankruptcy options. You may be able to file for bankruptcy under a certain chapter, where your debts related to the crash are discharged. This may apply for debts accumulated due to property damage and personal injury. There are a couple factors that could result in a bankruptcy application denial, where you would be obligated to pay off the debts:

#1 Malicious Behavior = if the accident occurred due to some degree of intent, then you may have to pay for the debts accumulated instead of having them eradicated through declaring bankruptcy. For example, if you caused an accident due to road rage because the other person cut you off, then you are unlikely to be approved for bankruptcy discharges related to this incident.

#2 Drunk Driving = if you were found to be under the influence when the accident unfolded, and it led to another driver becoming injured or even deceased, then it will be your responsibility to pay criminal fines, the other party’s bodily injury, court fees and restitution.

Other Options

If either of these two factors above apply to your vehicle collision and you are unable to pay off your debts, you may still be able to file for bankruptcy under chapter 13. Your debts will not be discharged, but you can use a repayment plan over the course of 3-5 years to help you pay it off more easily. The repayment amount and schedule may be based on your earnings, so you can afford these installments.

However, it is best to talk with an attorney who is familiar with such cases before deciding what to do on your own. If you do not receive legal insight, you may end up choosing the wrong bankruptcy chapter, resulting in a denial. Then, you may suffer even further financial crisis because you did not seek guidance.

Meeting with an Attorney

If you decide to talk with a bankruptcy lawyer Tampa, FL trusts at The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, P.L., then you may want to gather as much information as you can related to your financial situation, so during the appointment the attorney can counsel you as thoroughly as possible. Examples of documents to take with you to the consult include paystubs, receipts for the other party’s medical bills, your living expenses, costs to repair your vehicle and perhaps the other party’s vehicle, other debts, or anything else related to what happened.

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