Can I file bankruptcy after being sued?

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Question:

Can I file bankruptcy after being sued?

Answer:

You may be able to discharge debts incurred in a lawsuit in bankruptcy, but this depends on exactly what you were sued for. For example:

  • If you were sued because of an eligible unpaid debt, such as by a credit card company, then filing for bankruptcy is usually going to get rid of the amount owed in the outstanding judgment against you. If the creditor was garnishing your wages, then filing bankruptcy is going to take care of that problem for you. 
  • If you were sued because of a debt that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, filing bankruptcy may not help you to get rid of the judgment against you. For example, unpaid child support and student loan debt aren't dischargeable in bankruptcy so if there is a judgment against you for either of these things, then the bankruptcy most likely is not going to help you deal with that problem in the vast majority of situations. 
  • If you were sued because you injured someone, whether or not the debt can be discharged is going to depend on what type of tort you were sued for. Here, the rules can vary slightly from location to location, but as a general matter, if you committed an intentional tort you cannot discharge the judgment in bankruptcy. If you were sued because of damage you caused while driving drunk, you also probably aren't going to be able to discharge the debt

Because there are so many variables, it is always in your best interests to speak with a lawyer to determine if bankruptcy will help in your situation. 

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