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After filing chapter 7 bankruptcy am i able to collect on the monies i claimed exempt from my personal injury attorney ?

Riverside, CA |

I was awarded $5,600.00 from a personal injury case in which I claimed exempt on my chapter 7, this is the amount before medical liens, attorney fees and misc. Can I collect the entire amount of the award? Or just the remaining balance after all is dispursted?

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Attorney answers 3


Your question is somewhat vague. Generally, an injured party can collect money on a claim that they disclosed in bankruptcy. It is generally up to the Trustee as to how much. You should really consult with your bankruptcy attorney, as I am unfamiliar with the ins and outs of bankruptcy law. I've had clients claim bankruptcy who were able to keep $10,000 of their settlement for themselves. However, that was a few years ago, before many of the changes in the law took place. Again, you should really consult with a bankruptcy attorney. Best of luck.


This answer depends on whether the trustee in bankruptcy has abandoned the asset. There are essentially three ways this can happen. (1) The trustee can be compelled to abandon the asset on motion if it is of inconsequential value to the bankrupt estate, (2) the trustee can voluntarily abandon the asset in a disclosure to the court, or (3) the asset is abandoned back to the debtor by default upon closing of the case. The information I would need to answer the question, therefore, is (1) is there an order compelling abandonment of the proceeds, (2) has the trustee voluntarily abandoned the asset, and (3) is the case closed without administration? If the answer to any of these three questions is yes, then the ownership of the asset goes back to you. Best of luck!

I am an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan, and not in your jurisdiction. This post is only for educational or academic purposes, and is not intended by the writer to be legal advice upon which the reader should rely. NO attorney-client relationship is formed by this post. The reader should seek the advice of a lawyer competent in the practice area of inquiry and licensed in the state in which he or she resides to handle the complexities of his or her individual cases.


Unless the medical bills were discharged in BK, if they are on lien, you would still owe them. Your attorney would also be able to earn his attorney fees and costs. This would be up to the BK court to decide unless the settlement is exempt.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.

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