Bankruptcy and Personal Injury
Filing bankruptcy while you have a personal injury claim pending can significantly impact your personal injury claim, whether you are in the state of Virginia or elsewhere.
By filing a bankruptcy petition under Chapter 7 of the U. S. Bankruptcy Code you thereby transfer all of your assets to the Trustee in bankruptcy. Your personal injury claim is an asset. The bankruptcy Trustee may decide to abandon that claim and allow you to pursue it. This claim needs to be disclosed to your bankruptcy lawyer and then likewise needs to be disclosed to the Court for the Trustee to make a decision on that issue.
In addition, the medical bills that you have incurred may be subject to a discharge. If in fact all of those bills are discharged, meaning that they are in effect forgiven and you do not have to pay them, that may have some impact on whether or not you can claim them in your personal injury proceeding.
Under the prevailing case law in Virginia the medical bills could probably still be claimed as evidence of the severity of the injury although the bills themselves would not be a basis for reimbursement or direct compensation to you since the bills themselves have been discharged.
From a practical point of view what that means is that the jury would hear about the bills and the amount of the bills but the jury would not be told that they should consider the bills themselves in terms of coming up with a monetary award to you.