Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some initial questions many clients have when they first contact Michael A. Schafer, Attorney at Law. The questions below may address many initial concerns you may have about your accident. If you don't find the answers here, you should contact us for answers to questions specific to your case. The consultation is free.
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How Does Bankruptcy Affect My Case?
Filing for bankruptcy during your personal injury claim could put the money from your personal injury case in the hands of the bankruptcy trustee. That is why it’s important to consult with your personal injury attorney before you file for bankruptcy. That way, your personal injury attorney can advise you of your options and work with your bankruptcy attorney to ensure that your rights are fully protected.
Related Video: Should Kentucky Accident Victims Settle Their Cases Out Of Court?
When you file for bankruptcy, your personal injury claim becomes part of your bankruptcy estate. A bankruptcy estate consists of all of your property and property rights that the bankruptcy court has control over. Your personal injury claim becomes part of the bankruptcy estate. The bankruptcy trustee has the power to decide when and how your claim is resolved. This means, the proceeds from your settled case will likely be used to make payments to your creditors.
There are bankruptcy exemptions that affect your personal injury case found in 11 USC 522 (d). 11 USC 522 (d)(11) exempts crime victim reparations, wrongful death and life insurance in an amount reasonably necessary to support the debtor. That same section (11 USC 522 (d)(11)) gives a personal injury exemption of $21,625. There is also an exemption for loss of future earnings reasonably necessary to support the debtor. There is also a wild card exemption in 11 USC 522 (d)(5) for $1,225 and up to $10,825 of the unused homestead exemption.
As you can tell, the bankruptcy statute is complicated. It is best to contact your personal injury attorney prior to filing for bankruptcy to determine the best strategy for your situation.
What happens if the at-fault party files for bankruptcy?
If the at-fault party files for bankruptcy during your personal injury claim against them, this will cause the litigation processes to be stayed. This is called the automatic bankruptcy stay. The automatic bankruptcy stay prohibits most creditors from continuing with collection activities, but there are exceptions. It’s important to know what these exceptions are so that you can be ready for them. In most situations, you may still proceed with the claim if the at-fault party is insured. This is because you are actually collecting from the insurance company not the person who is filing for bankruptcy.
How Do I Pay For Court Fees?
Most accident attorneys handle cases on what is called a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not pay a legal fee unless money is recovered for you. There is nothing to pay up front. A fee is paid from the recovery that is made.
Will I Have To Pay Anything Before My Case Goes To Court?
Litigation costs are advanced in most cases. These costs can include: filing fees, court costs, expert witness fees and many other expenses for depositions or evidence to be presented in court. It can cost thousands of dollars. If you are responsible for this money, it is advanced by most attorneys and paid from the proceeds of your case.
How Soon After My Pedestrian Accident Should I Contact An Attorney?
Call an attorney immediately! Do not talk with the other person's insurance company until you have had a chance to consult with an attorney. It is very important that you understand the process before you begin answering questions. You should always tell the truth, but you should be prepared and understand the process before you do.
If I Am Injured, How Do My Medical Bills Get Paid?
Pedestrian accidents are a little different than other motor vehicle accident cases. The no fault insurance (also called PIP or Basic Reparation Benefits) of the vehicle that you were in would normally pay for your medical bills. In the situation of a pedestrian accident, the first responsibility for medical bills is with the insurance company of the car that hit you. If for some reason the car that hit you was not insured, you would proceed under the car insurance of your own vehicle.
Can I Still Recover If The Car That Hit Me Had No Insurance?
Yes, if you have uninsured motorist coverage on your own vehicle. This will allow you to recover money from your insurance company for your pain and suffering. You may also sue the driver of the car individually and collect any assets that they may have. Your medical bills would be paid by your PIP insurance.
Does My Car Insurance Cover Me If I'm Hit While Walking?
In most instances the answer is yes. However, you will want to check your insurance policy to make sure. Generally, most insurance policies will cover you if you are a pedestrian or a pedestrian hit by a motor vehicle.
How Long Does It Take To Settle A Pedestrian Accident Case?
This depends on the facts and circumstances of your specific case. Every case is different and it depends on how seriously you were injured. Generally, negotiations do not begin until you have been released by your doctor and have recovered from your injuries. This can take as little as three months or as long as several years.
What Is The Statute Of Limitations In A Pedestrian Accident?
In most pedestrian accident cases, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident. It could also be two years from the date of the last medical no fault payment not to exceed four years. It is best to contact an attorney to determine the exact statute of limitations in your case. This can be confusing and difficult to determine.
What Is The Kentucky Assigned Claims Plan?
The Kentucky Assigned Claims Plan is a statutory benefit that you may be eligible for if there is no other PIP coverage for which you qualify. If you are a passenger in a car that does not have insurance coverage, or you are driving a car that does not have insurance coverage, then you may be eligible for benefits under the Kentucky Assigned Claims Plan. You may also be eligible if you are a passenger on a bus or cab and you do not have your own car insurance policy. These benefits are the exact same benefits you receive under Personal Injury Protection or Basic Reparation Benefits from car insurance purchased.
Read more about The Kentucky Assigned Claims Plan here.