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Does anyone know about car accident settlements after filing Chapter 13

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  • Does anyone know about car accident settlements after filing Chapter 13

    Hi.

    Back in November/13 I was in a car accident. I was 18 months into my plan when this happened. I've now paid in for 2 years (and have 2.5 years left since everyone didn't file a claim). I'm in a 100% payback plan. I'm now understanding the trustee has to approve any accident settlement I agree to. Is that really true? and because I'm in a 100% plan, can the trustee take some or all of the settlement??? When all is said and done, if this is settled, I would end up with about $10,000. It would ne nice to have a contingency fund.

    The Paralegal for my lawyer said but think, you could put it into the plan and be done sooner. Thanks but no thanks, I'ld like to feel more secure while I go through this for the next 2.5 years. He said the lawyer would talk with my trustee and recommend I get to keep the settlement since i'm paying 100%.

    I'm just curious if anyone else has gone through this or has any thoughts.

    Thanks
    Filed Chapter 13 - 07/20/12
    Discharged 8/2/16

  • #2
    I haven't gone through it, but my thoughts are that the trustee could insist the settlement go to the plan so that you complete the plan sooner. But, he may not. You'll know soon enough. I'm with the paralegal. Finishing your plan early is a good thing. How much will $10,009 take off that 2.5 years?
    LadyInTheRed is in the black!
    Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
    $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!

    Comment


    • #3
      This is definitely an area where I would speak with the attorney, and not the paralegal. The problem here is that you are in a 100% plan, so you did not pledge all of your "disposable monthly income" (DMI) to the custody and control of the Trustee. One could argue that all post-petition property is property of the Estate in a Chapter 13 (they behave differently than Chapter 7). The proceeds of the lawsuit would become property of the Estate (or "aft" acquired property). This seems to be regardless of the 180 days mentioned in the bankruptcy code (11 USC 541) since the Chapter 13 code seems to expand the definition of property of the Estate.

      The Trustee may be able to take the portions which do not amount to medical or pain and suffering (I believe). (Based on exemptions.) There could be other factors, such as amending your petition to exempt part of the proceeds (any portions that are not already exempt).

      Definitely an attorney specific question!
      Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
      Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
      Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


      I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you both for your responses.

        I've been talking with my lawyer since the accident happened..so he's aware of it and where it's at. He actually recommended the accident attorney I am using.

        It just threw me that until yesterday i was never told the trustee had to be involved at this point. I thought he would be involved, at the end, when a settlement was reached. There was panic yesterday having me sign and scan fee agreements, etc. so the accident lawyer could get it to the BK lawyer to the trustee (as quickly as possible). I actually have an email sent from my BK attorney to the trustee's office about 2 months ago that discussed the accident and said they would be kept informed when it settled.

        I know it's wrong..but right now I'm wondering why they even had to be involved in this. I know i'm wrong but it's post petition, i'm in a 100% plan and I would like to have a cushion in my bank account. I'm in this bk, at 100% because i wanted the creditors paid back (or wouldn't have done it), but I guess i'm feeling i was the one hurt in the accident and i should be entitled to the compensation. If it was an extremely large amount, I agree some of it should go to the plan.

        LIR - as for the reduction in time, it would be 4 months. To me, i would rather pay the 4 months at the end and feel comfortable for the next 2.5 years.

        Part of this is just ranting, so thanks for listening.
        Filed Chapter 13 - 07/20/12
        Discharged 8/2/16

        Comment


        • #5
          I have seen several instances of injury settlements during bk and have not seen any where the trustee took the money for the plan. After the lawyer got his share, the balance was exempted and the plan continued.

          Your mileage may vary.
          All information contained in this post is for informational and amusement purposes only.
          Bankruptcy is a process, not an event.......

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Frogger,
            Thanks for your note. As soon as I have an actual settlement agreement (anytime now)...I will call my lawyer directly. And I thought dealing with the car repair and my repair were the hard part
            Filed Chapter 13 - 07/20/12
            Discharged 8/2/16

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by justbroke View Post
              This is definitely an area where I would speak with the attorney, and not the paralegal.
              It sounds like the paralegal is working closely with the attorney and that the attorney is contacting the trustee. There is nothing wrong with the paralegal being the point of contact as long as she is not independently giving legal advice. It is a good way to keep legal fees down.
              LadyInTheRed is in the black!
              Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
              $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by LadyInTheRed View Post
                It sounds like the paralegal is working closely with the attorney and that the attorney is contacting the trustee. There is nothing wrong with the paralegal being the point of contact as long as she is not independently giving legal advice. It is a good way to keep legal fees down.
                In that case, I would be okay. It read as though the information wasn't being passed. If the attorney is in the loop, I agree that the paralegal is the person to work with.
                Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
                Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
                Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


                I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by justbroke View Post
                  In that case, I would be okay. It read as though the information wasn't being passed. If the attorney is in the loop, I agree that the paralegal is the person to work with.
                  Hi Lady and justbroke,

                  FYI - The paralegal was asking my lawyer questions; however he was also stating his own opinion of the situation. He has done this to me a few times in the past and every time I go back to my lawyer and get clarification on what is accurate/correct. In this case I have already sent my lawyer a note asking for clarification.. my lawyer has told me it's not a problem when I'm unsure of something.
                  Dont' get me wrong, I like both my lawyer and paralegal, but the paralegal DOES NOT know the answers as well as the lawyer. And my lawyer and I have had a few conversations since my accident, so i rely on him for the accurate information.
                  Happy Friday!
                  Filed Chapter 13 - 07/20/12
                  Discharged 8/2/16

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi,

                    Just wanted to give an update. I spoke to my bk lawyer who filed the necessary paperwork with the trustee, etc. The trustee has said that I can keep $10,000 and anything above that goes to the plan. I think that is very fair and favorable. A settlement has been reached and both myself and the plan will be getting disbursements. Once in a while a bad situation has a good outcome (even if the cost was a lot of pain). Thanks again for your notes and Happy Friday.
                    Filed Chapter 13 - 07/20/12
                    Discharged 8/2/16

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by sophieanne View Post
                      Hi Lady and justbroke,

                      FYI - The paralegal was asking my lawyer questions; however he was also stating his own opinion of the situation. He has done this to me a few times in the past and every time I go back to my lawyer and get clarification on what is accurate/correct. In this case I have already sent my lawyer a note asking for clarification.. my lawyer has told me it's not a problem when I'm unsure of something.
                      Dont' get me wrong, I like both my lawyer and paralegal, but the paralegal DOES NOT know the answers as well as the lawyer. And my lawyer and I have had a few conversations since my accident, so i rely on him for the accurate information.
                      Happy Friday!
                      I didn't see the above last week. Happy Friday!

                      It sounds like you are working well with the paralegal and attorney. Everything I tell a client is either something I have discussed with the attorney or is so procedural that I don't need to. It is important that a client gets accurate information AND is confident the information is accurate. When I get even the smallest feeling that a client doubts what I tell them, I offer to transfer them to the attorney or have the attorney call them. Unfortunately, from what I have read here, there are too many paralegals out there who are a wall between the client and attorney instead of a conduit like they should be. I think the attorneys are as much to blame as the paralegals. I am glad your attorney is available to you when you need or want clarification.

                      Originally posted by sophieanne View Post
                      Hi,

                      Just wanted to give an update. I spoke to my bk lawyer who filed the necessary paperwork with the trustee, etc. The trustee has said that I can keep $10,000 and anything above that goes to the plan. I think that is very fair and favorable. A settlement has been reached and both myself and the plan will be getting disbursements. Once in a while a bad situation has a good outcome (even if the cost was a lot of pain). Thanks again for your notes and Happy Friday.
                      Sounds fair. Glad it worked out well for you!
                      Last edited by LadyInTheRed; 08-08-2014, 01:05 PM.
                      LadyInTheRed is in the black!
                      Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
                      $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LadyInTheRed View Post
                        It sounds like you are working well with the paralegal and attorney.
                        HI LIR..and if you were the paralegal in my case, I would feel in very good hands
                        Thanks for all your answers and support.
                        Last edited by LadyInTheRed; 08-08-2014, 04:47 PM. Reason: To repair quote code
                        Filed Chapter 13 - 07/20/12
                        Discharged 8/2/16

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sophieanne View Post
                          HI LIR..and if you were the paralegal in my case, I would feel in very good hands
                          Thanks for all your answers and support.
                          Awwww shucks. Thanks! I don't actually work in bankruptcy. Just this morning I received an email about training for attorneys who want to do pro bono bankruptcy work for low income people. I get billable hour credit for doing pro bono work on firm approved matters. I wish we had BK attorneys here. I would try to get them to take on a pro bono BK matter so I could help. It would be nice to help people who can't afford an attorney get a fresh start!
                          Last edited by LadyInTheRed; 08-08-2014, 04:47 PM.
                          LadyInTheRed is in the black!
                          Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
                          $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yeah, I completely agree. I think the same must be done for other cases too like drunk driving. My friend who works for a Los Angeles DUI attorney was telling me that many times people aren’t able to engage good lawyers and end up losing case even when they are innocent.

                            Comment

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