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Can an individual or a business escape paying a court judgment or a jury award by filing Chapter 7, 11 or 13?

Milford, CT |

I am a plaintiff in a lawsuit. If the jury awards me more money than the amount of the defendant's insurance, may I collect against him and his business? Or, can he avoid collection by putting himself and his business into bankruptcy?

Attorney Answers 3


As a Plaintiff in a large lawsuit, you may wish to investigate the Defendant's financial background to help you to decide whether it would be worthwhile to take your case to a jury or to a bench trial or whether you should settle for the insurance policy limits. People file bankruptcy all the time because they can't pay a court judgment.

Hope this perspective helps!

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You'll need to give us a lot more information- what is the claim for? Most claims are dischargeable in bankruptcy but some are not. Did you sue the individual and company or just the insurance company? These are a few among many issues you face.

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Generally, court judgments are dischargeable in bankruptcy, absent fraud. Yes, if the jury awards more than insurance will cover, the defendant would be liable for that debt. And, again, yes bankruptcy may protect him.

I hope this helps.
Steven A. Leahy

Please note that the above is not intended as legal advice, it is for educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is created or is intended to be created hereby. You should contact a local attorney to discuss and to obtain legal advice.

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1 comment

Ryan Sean Carrigan

Ryan Sean Carrigan


not dischargeable if fraud or intentional tort that severely injures, or a family law decision in divorce (may not). but general judgements can be discharged

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