Understanding Bankruptcy Sept. 18, 2020

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Question: Can I sue someone who has filed for bankruptcy?

Answer: Bankruptcy’s automatic stay stops most lawsuits once the bankruptcy is filed. Typically, you will not be able to file a lawsuit if it relates to certain debts which include: personal loans, credit card balances, medical bills, utility bills, unpaid rent, unpaid car payments, home foreclosures or accidental personal injury cases.

There are some instances where the lawsuit can continue despite a bankruptcy being filed. For example, filing bankruptcy will not stop a criminal case. Divorce and custody cases are not directly affected by the filing of a bankruptcy. If the person filing for bankruptcy caused a death or injury while intoxicated, the lawsuit against them can usually continue. Also, lawsuits where debts arise after the filing of bankruptcy can continue. Meaning if the debtor causes an accident one month after filing bankruptcy and damages your car, you can file a lawsuit against them.

For matters arising before the bankruptcy was filed, you may be able to petition the bankruptcy court for relief from the automatic stay so that your lawsuit may continue. Whether the court would grant your request depends on the circumstances.

Next Week’s Question: Should I file a bankruptcy to delay my foreclosure?

Cibik & Cataldo, P.C.
1500 Walnut Street, Suite 900
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Tel: (215) 735-1060
Direct: (215) 557-9001

Michael A. Cibik, Esquire

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