If you are in a bankruptcy chapter 13 case and are involved in a car accident, it is so important for you to follow the proper steps required by the Bankruptcy Court. It doesn’t matter if your vehicle was totaled or not, there are steps we must take to handle things properly.
Let the insurance company know you are in a chapter 13 bankruptcy and tell them any settlement for the damage to the vehicle must be paid to the chapter 13 trustee. Do not cash or deposit any settlement money or checks you receive. All money must be paid to the chapter 13 trustee.
If you hire an attorney to represent you for injuries you received in the accident, the attorney must be approved by the bankruptcy court. If you need a lawyer to represent you, call my office, I can refer you to an attorney.
1. Instruct the insurance company to send an email or fax to my office with a summary containing the vehicle information, the value of the vehicle, the amount of deductions, and the net amount they will pay.
2. I will file a motion with the court to get approval of the settlement. The approval will take thirty (30) days from the date the motion is filed.
3. We will also file a motion to remove the vehicle from your plan and reduce your monthly payment.
4. Once the court approves the settlement the trustee will pay off the vehicle finance company. If there is any money left over, I will ask the court to let you have the balance so you can use it to obtain a replacement vehicle. The payment from the trustee to the finance company and to you could take another thirty (30) to forty-five (45) days from the date the trustee receives the settlement check or the date of the court approval.
If the vehicle was the only thing you were paying for in the bankruptcy, you should think about whether or not you should even stay in the chapter 13 bankruptcy. There are options to discuss that could speed up the above process if the vehicle was the only item being paid. For example, a chapter 7 could be filed and all of your other debts could be wiped out, including the debt on the vehicle. Let’s talk about the best strategy for your specific situation!