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Can I keep personal injury settlement money in bankruptcy?

I'm in the middle of personal injury lawsuit and my lawyer thinks that sometime in the next few months we may be able to settle the thing with an insurance company and get a settlement. But now things are touch and go with my finances and my big credit card debt and I think I might have to file bankruptcy. If I do file bankruptcy in MA and then get a settlement from the PI case, will I be able to keep the settlement money or will I lose it? I'm still not certain how big the settlement will be or how much I will be able to keep after I pay my lawyer. Thanks.

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It is difficult to answer that question without more information.  Filing bankruptcy does not mean that you lose all of your assets.  In fact, bankruptcy law provides certain exemptions that will allow you to keep some of your assets.  However, you and your bankruptcy attorney (you should get one) will need to decide whether to take the Massachusetts exemptions or the federal bankruptcy exemptions.  That decision will come down to a number of factors, including the size of your "potential" injury settlement and the number and value of other assets you may wish to protect through the bankruptcy process.  So ultimately, after you choose your exemptions, the answer to your question will come down to how you use the exemptions that are available to you.  In other words, you might use a generic exemption to shelter your settlement money in whole or in part, or you mat choose to protect other assets.  Many bankruptcy attorneys offer free initial consultations.  Good luck.

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