I have so much debt on my name and I make less than $600 a month. This family sue me for nearly $150,000 for the car crash accident and they want to send me to court on August. As my life is right now, I may file for bankruptcy because of everything I owe. Should I do it now before my August court with them, or should I do it after? Either way, I simply cannot make it. Will the court understand my situation? That family went to the restaurant I work at and they looked fine. They have an even bigger and better car and according to what he is suing me for, his right wrist surgery, he was doing everything with his right hand. I even have witnesses and a video recording. What should I do? I want to get a lawyer, but I don't even have money to pay him/her. What are my options?
If you go to court yourself you will probably accomplish very little; the judge might have sympathy for you but your financial situation will play no role in the ultimate result of the personal injury case. You might end up with a large judgment against you and the only way you will be able to escape it is to declare bankruptcy.
Your best option is to gather up some cash and pay a local lawyer now, to review the facts of your case and figure out the best way to contain the problem. It may mean you settle before the case goes any further, and pay them over time. Another option is to declare bankruptcy immediately, which will put the lawsuit against you on hold.
I am assuming that you didn't have any auto coverage yourself, because if you did you would already have let your insurer handle this for you. In regard to your bankruptcy question, you should contact a bankruptcy attorney. There are many in California listed on this web site. You may have no choice but to pay an attorney to help you if you did not have insurance or it was inadequate.
If you have car insurance, your insurance company should handle the claim and provide an attorney for your case. If not, you should speak to a local attorney about your options. Most of them will offer free consultations.
I am licensed to practice law in VA, not your state. As such, I may be unaware of certain state laws; therefore, my response may be wrong or irrelevant. Please use my response for informational purposes only and contact a local attorney for legal advice.
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If you have insurance they should handle this claim for you. You insurance should hire a defense atty for you. Hiring your own defense attorney will cost a lot of money.
However if you do not have insurance or money, you should file bankruptcy. Contact a local bankruptcy attorney for advice.
I was told by my bankruptcy attorney friend that when defendant filing bankruptcy, it would affect the case. It would create an automatic stay and plaintiff (Plf.) can't do move forward with the case against defendant. But that's just the general answer. What chapter are you filing? 7? 13? If the judgement before the defendant filing bk, it is worse for plf. because it arises from a debt prior to the BK so it would be dischargeable. Plf. can always sue in bk on a non discharge-ability debts. Plf. should always file proof of claim for the judgment. This is a general answer, you should contact a bankruptcy attorney for better advice!!! Good-luck!!!
Did you have auto insurance? If you have insurance your carrier will provide you with a defense and will pay the damages up to your limit. If you have low limits the carrier should try to settle the claim for you within the limits so that you are not "exposed" to a judgment higher than those limits.
I do not practice in California so I do not know how your motor vehicle financial responsibility laws work. But here in Pennsylvania, if I learned that the defendant had little or no insurance, I typically would advise my clients that there is no practical sense to pursuing a claim beyond the insurance limits if the person did not have assets to pay any excess judgment. If my clients had underinsurance coverage on their own policy, I would make a claim there.
If you do not have insurance, you should seek the advice of an attorney from your state who can explain your rights. This should not be that expensive and at least you will know where you stand. You have a lot of uncertainty and even if you have few options at least you will know what they are and you can better make decisions on what to do next. Good Luck.
As an injury trial attorney myself, I would not spend the $15-20K in trial costs to get a judgment against someone who does not have the ability to pay it. Thus, one option would be to wait and see if the plaintiff drops the case against you. However, if you had car insurance or if you were working at the time of the accident, the plaintiff may be filing the lawsuit in hopes of getting recovery from your insurance or your employer. In any case you should immediately, talk with a bankruptcy attorney who can plan your bankruptcy strategy to see if you can file now or wait. Good Luck!!
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