Is a judgement dischargeable in bankruptcy?

I got in an accident 3 years ago with my friend’s car. I got sued because I didn’t have insurance at the time of the accident and the court ordered a judgment of 20k. I cannot afford this and the insurance provider for the other party will not lower the monthly payments; it wants a lump sum of half the judgment otherwise they will suspend my license. I lhave considered bankruptcy but the insurance providers suing me state that a judgment involving an accident is not dischargeable. Is this true?

Asked on December 2, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Most debts, including most judgment debts, are dischargeable in bankruptcy. That includes most debts for personal injury or property damage in auto accidennts. While the exact rules vary with the kind of bankruptcy you file, generally, the only auto damage debts which would not be dischargeable are  those arising from DWI or DUI (so if you were intoxicated, you can't discharge the debt) or from wanton or willful behavior (e.g. if you were angry and someone and deliberately crashed into their car). You should not take what the insurer says at face value--of course they want you to think you can't do this! You *should* if at all possible consult with a bankruptcy attorney to evaluate your situation and see if bankruptcy is a good option for you. Here's also a helpful link to some good bankruptcy information put out by the government; good luck.

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