For a simple personal injury award, you have an California exemption for personal injury CCP 703.140(b)(11)(D) A payment, not to exceed seventeen thousand four hundred twenty-five dollars ($17,425), on account of personal bodily injury, not including pain and suffering or compensation for actual pecuniary loss, of the debtor or an individual of whom the debtor is a dependent.
There are two sets of California exemptions available. Which set you choose will be dependent on the totality of your circumstances including the nature of your personal injury settlement, other assets you own, etc.
A good starting point is to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. We have offices near you and offer a free consultation.
Steve Doan, Esq
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Doan Law Firm
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There is also the 704 exemptions, depending on what else you own will dictate which set (703 or 704s) will work best for you. Hire a local attorney to help you.