What happens in bankruptcy if I have a medical malpractice claim?

by Jay Fleischman, Esq.

February 5, 2010

People often file bankruptcy because the have medical bills. Sometimes, people have medical bills because they have to pay doctors and hospitals to fix botched medical procedures.

Maybe they have seen an attorney about a medical malpractice claim. Maybe they have filed a lawsuit. Maybe they haven’t yet filed a lawsuit.

In the meantime, they are unable to work because they have been injured by the medical mishap. They are running up a lot of debt. They are in financial trouble.

Now the see a bankruptcy lawyer. Here’s where the trouble can begin.

You have to tell your bankruptcy lawyer about every lawsuit you have or may have.

Very bad things can happen to you if you don’t list all of your assets in a bankruptcy case.

  • You could lose your discharge in bankruptcy
  • You might be committing a bankruptcy crime
  • The people you are suing may claim that your failure to list the claim you have against them is an admission that you don’t have a claim against them
  • You might lose your right to claim that some or all of the claim you have is exempt under applicable state or federal law.

A medical malpractice claim is a very big deal. It may result in damages even greater than all of your debts in your bankruptcy case.

Our next article will discuss what you and your lawyer have to do if you have a medical malpractice claim when you file your bankruptcy case.

Lakelaw files bankruptcy cases for people in Illinois and Wisconsin. If you have a medical malpractice case when you file your bankruptcy, Lakelaw will help you protect that asset and preserve your rights in bankruptcy. Call us today at 1 866 LAKELAW (525-3529).

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Jay S. Fleischman is a bankruptcy lawyer with offices in Los Angeles and New York. He can often be found on Google+ and Twitter, where he shares information about consumer protection issues and personal finance.

Last modified: October 21, 2011