Can we file bankruptcy on them so we won't lose everything we have after the accident? 15 Answers as of September 15, 2014

My son was in a car accident and they had no insurance or license. My son was a minor and he had a few beers before the accident at my sister’s house. Now they are going after my sister for surviving my son and they say that's what caused the accident. Also my sister has a lot to lose, so would it work to file?

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Law Office of Susan G. Taylor
Law Office of Susan G. Taylor | Susan G. Taylor
It might not work, if they're alleging an intentional tort which is not dischargeable.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 9/15/2014
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
You filing a bankruptcy will not protect your sister from any negligence claims against her.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 9/12/2014
Garner Law Office
Garner Law Office | Daniel Garner
If I understand your question correctly, you are concerned about being liable for what your minor son did, and are also wondering if your sister can file bankruptcy to avoid civil liability for contributing to your son's delinquency. You should be able to file bankruptcy on this, although whether you lose everything will depend on the exemptions you can use in your bankruptcy. Your sister may have a harder time, because the creditor/victim may challenge the discharge on the basis of willful and malicious injury. It would be very hard for the creditor to prevail in such a case but some creditors will file an adversary proceeding assuming that the debtor will not have the means to fight it. Sounds like a tragic situation.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 9/12/2014
Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
If you're asking whether you as the parents of the underage drinker can file bankruptcy to stop a lawsuit against your sister who served the alcohol. No, your bankruptcy wouldn't affect any potential liability or lawsuits of either your son or your sister. To stop a lawsuit, the DEFENDANT in the lawsuit has to file bankruptcy. You're not the defendant in either the action against your son or the action against your sister.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 9/12/2014
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
The pronouns here are a little mixed up. Not sure who "they" are.... You need to see local counsel. If your sister was not the party that caused the accident she should be able to file. But "they" are going after her her..... the question is why.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/11/2014
    If your sister were driving intoxicated and caused a death that would not be dischargeable in bankruptcy. It does appear that under the circumstance you described the debt would be dischargeable.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 9/11/2014
    A Fresh Start
    A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
    The decision to file bankruptcy is usually more complicated than just having one debt. If your son was cited & convicted for driving under the influence, then you may be ineligible to eliminate this debt in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy under the provisions of 11 USC sec 523.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 9/11/2014
    Freeman Law Group, LLC
    Freeman Law Group, LLC | Derek Freeman
    You cannot file bankruptcy for your sister. If you're asking whether your sister should file bankruptcy, that depends. You said "They" are going after your sister. Does that mean the prosecutor is filing criminal charges against her? If so, and if she is found (or pleads) guilty, she will have to pay a fine and/or do jail time. Most criminal fines are not dischargeable in a bankruptcy. If "they" are plaintiffs seeking damages, then she will have to let the suit take its course before she decides whether to file bankruptcy. Some damages are not dischargeable in a bankruptcy, such as damages for death or injury caused by the debtor's operation of a vehicle while under the influence. In any case, the plaintiff can file an objection to discharge, which will result in an adversary proceeding. Your sister should consult an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/11/2014
    Thomas Vogele & Associates, APC | Thomas A. Vogele
    You cannot discharge these types of debt through a bankruptcy. Section 523(a)(9) specifically states that claims "for death or personal injury caused by the debtor's operation of a motor vehicle, vessel, or aircraft if such operation was unlawful because the debtor was intoxicated from using alcohol, a drug, or another substance" are not dischargeable.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/11/2014
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson | Lynnmarie Johnson
    You need to meet with an attorney ( or rather your sister does) . Injuries do to drunk driving are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, but since she only provided the beer, it may be different. Good luck! She should also check with her homeowner's to see if they will provide any assistance. I doubt it since she gave beer to a minor, which is clearly illegal, so she maybe should find a lawyer to represent her for this.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/11/2014
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    You and she should engage separate attorneys and determine your options. There are insufficient facts presented to form any opinion except that both of you may be in significant legal trouble.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/11/2014
    The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu
    The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu | Mengjun Qiu
    Unfortunately, any damages caused to another person or their property while driving under the influence of drug or alcohol is a non-dischargeable debt, which means that when you file for bankruptcy, the plaintiffs can file a motion to open an adversary proceeding to let the judge know that the debt is not dischargeable. Unless the original claim against your sister is only for negligence of serving a minor alcohol or letting a minor drive after being served alcohol and without a license. Also, if your sister is served as the defendant, she would be the one that has to file for bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/11/2014
    D.J. Rausa, Attorney at Law | D.J. Rausa
    Your bankruptcy will not protect your sister.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/11/2014
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    You need to sit down with attorney and discuss the facts. Bankruptcy attorneys do not charge to talk to them.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 9/11/2014
    Davis Law SC | D. Nathan Davis
    This is an issue that only can be answered after meeting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. It may be that your sister will not be any better off if she files bankruptcy or takes no action. The one thing your sister should not do is transfer assets to some other person. If she does that, then she will lose a lot of protections that the law gives to people. She should go meet with an attorney who is familiar with bankruptcy law and the law of exemptions for South Carolina to obtain good advice.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 9/11/2014
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