Exceptions to Bankruptcy Discharge: Debt from a Personal Injury Case

Are you thinking about filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Oklahoma? There are certain types of debt that are “nondischargeable” under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, or that are known as “exceptions to discharge.” Generally speaking, most consumer debt is eligible for discharge in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but there are certain types of debt that cannot be discharged under any circumstances. One of those types of debt is a debt owed as a result of a personal injury case involving an impaired driver. In other words, if you were involved in an alcohol-related accident and someone got hurt, any damages you owe as a result cannot be discharged if you file for bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Discharge Does Not Apply to Damages from Death or Injury in an Impaired-Driving Crash

The U.S. Bankruptcy Code clearly states that filing for consumer bankruptcy does not allow an individual to discharge debt for the injury or death caused by the debtor’s driving a motor vehicle, vessel, or aircraft if the driving was illegal because the debtor was intoxicated from using alcohol, a drug, or another substance. To be clear, if you caused an impaired driving accident and are responsible for damages, you cannot discharge that debt in bankruptcy.

It is important to note that this exception to discharge applies to more than just a drunk driving accident. Under Oklahoma law, as in other states across the country, a person is considered to be guilty of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol if she or he has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. But a DUI can also be charged when a person is under the influence of another intoxicating substance, including both legal and illegal drugs. Even if you are taking a prescription drug that causes significant impairment, causing an accident as a result of your impairment can result in you owing the plaintiff or his family a significant amount of money. In any of these scenarios, the U.S. Bankruptcy Code prohibits the discharge of this debt.

Discuss Your Options with an Oklahoma Bankruptcy Attorney

Bankruptcy law is extremely complicated, and there are a number of exceptions to discharge. When most of your debt falls under these exceptions, bankruptcy might not be the right course of action for you if you are seeking a way to deal with your debt. However, you should keep in mind that many, if not most, types of consumer debt can be discharged in bankruptcy, and an Oklahoma bankruptcy lawyer can help. Contact Deborah Brooks & Associates, P.C. to discuss your case.