[COLUMN] Is liability for $3.7 million car accident dischargeable in bankruptcy? —


It was 9 p.m. The customer had just finished his “hot pot” dinner at a famous restaurant and was on his way home. Home was only 10 minutes away. He had lived in this neighborhood for 30 years and knew all the streets. This time he decided to make a right turn that crossed a pedestrian lane. The streetlights were a little dimmer than usual, but whatever, he’d made that turn hundreds of times since moving to this neighborhood. As his car crossed the pedestrian lane, he heard a thud coming from the right. Still, he saw nothing that could cause the thud but decided to stop the car to get a view of the footpath. He got a sinking feeling in his stomach when he saw a man, in his 50s, lying prostrate next to his right front bumper, moaning in pain.

So. This car accident leads to a $4 million liability lawsuit against the client. The client’s auto insurance only covers $300,000, so a difference of $3.7M remains. The client is now considering filing a Chapter 7 to clear the $3.7 million resulting from the accident.

Is the $3.7 million a dischargeable debt in the event of bankruptcy?

What does the bankruptcy law say about this situation? The general rule is that a debt is dischargeable unless it is exempt from discharge. Article 523 of the bankruptcy code contains the exceptions to the discharge.

Section 523(a)(3)(6)

Section 523(a)(3)(6) excludes from discharge of a debt “for intentional and malicious injury by the debtor to another entity or to the property of another”. This means that the code distinguishes between injuries caused by “negligence” and injuries caused by willful and malicious “tort”. The United States Supreme Court has pointed out in Kawaauhau vs. Geiger, 523 US 57 (1998) that a “willful and malicious” act is not the same as a “negligent” or even “reckless” act. This means that only acts done with the actual intent to cause injury fall within the scope of section 523(a)(3)(6).

Kawaauhau vs. Dr. Greiger

What happened in the case of Kawaauhau vs. Geiger? Kawaauhau sought treatment for his injured foot. The respondent, Dr. Geiger, examined and hospitalized her to avoid the risk of infection. He prescribed oral penicillin even though he knew that intravenous penicillin would have been more effective because he understood that his patient wanted to minimize treatment costs. Dr. Geiger then left on a business trip, leaving Kawaauhau in the care of other doctors, who decided she needed to be transferred to an infectious disease specialist. When Geiger returned, he canceled the transfer and stopped all antibiotics as he believed the infections had subsided. But Kawaauhau’s condition deteriorated, requiring the amputation of his leg below the knee. Kawaauhau then sued Geiger for malpractice and the state court awarded him $355,000 in damages. Geiger had no malpractice insurance, moved to Missouri, where his wages were garnished by Kawaahau. Geiger then filed for bankruptcy. Kawaahau filed a contradictory case opposing the discharge alleging “deliberate and malicious” intent to cause injury. The bankruptcy court ruled the debt non-dischargeable, finding that Geiger’s treatment fell well below the proper standard of care and was therefore classified as “willful and malicious” and declared the debt non-dischargeable.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the exemption from discharge is limited to debts for an intentional tort, such that a malpractice debt remains dischargeable because it is based on negligent or reckless conduct . The Supreme Court then upheld what the appeals court had said, stating that “if Congress had wanted to exempt debts resulting from unintentional injuries, it could instead have described ‘willful acts that cause injury’ or select one or more additional words, i.e. “reckless”. or “negligent”, to modify “injury”.

Section 523(a)(3)(9)

Section 523(a)(3)(9) states that a debt is not dischargeable “in respect of death or personal injury caused by the operator of a motor vehicle…if that operator was unlawful because the debtor was intoxicated by alcohol, a drug or another substance.” This does not apply in the client’s case as he was completely sober at the time of the accident.

praying always helps

It is also helpful to pray to our God, His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and Blessed Mother Mary for divine protection against such kind of accidents and financial troubles, because we have a God who loves us, as well as his beloved Son, Jesus Christ, fills us with infinite mercy. All we have to do is humble ourselves and pray to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for a drop from his ocean of infinite mercy. Jesus revealed in the 1930s to Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska of Poland that all sinners that we all are and those who do not believe in God and those who do not yet know Jesus, should all be brought to His sacred heart and be overwhelmed in the ocean of His infinite mercy, for the love of his Sorrowful Passion. Everything you ask for when you pray the rosary for his divine mercy will be granted to you, if it is compatible with his will. Moreover, you are guaranteed a peaceful death.

What is the current evidence that God and Jesus are divine and almighty? I refer you to exhibition A, the incorruptible body of Carlo Acutis!

Current physical evidence in progress God is almighty; incorruptible body of Carlo Acutis who died in 2007 at the age of 15

Look at the incorruptible body of Blessed Carlo Acutis who died at age 15 in 2007. You can view his body in Rome, Italy, now 14 years after his death. He seems to sleep in his jogging and his rubber shoes! It is a perfect example of a continuous sign on earth that the God of Moses, our God, my God, is almighty and almighty that he even suspends the natural laws of biology and physics without any effort. He raised His one and only beloved son from death on the cross. Indeed, He has power over death.

In fact, I thought, “What would other religions believe if they actually saw the incorruptible body of Blessed Carlo Acutis?” I think even Buddha, if he were alive today, would truly believe that Yahweh is the only True God. No need to think about reincarnation and nirvana because his incorruptible body is available for all to see in Rome, Italy. We won’t need any sort of explanation of the effectiveness of modern mummification. Come on, man, this is shit. The truth is in plain sight. Believe in your own eyes that the one true God is almighty and his name is Yahweh, “I am who I am”. He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end.

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Disclaimer: None of the above is considered legal advice to anyone. There is absolutely no attorney client relationship established by reading this article.

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“Eternal Father, we offer you the body, blood, soul and divinity of your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world, because of his most painful passion. ”

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Lawrence Bautista Yang specializes in bankruptcy, business, real estate and civil litigation and has successfully represented over five thousand clients in California. Please call Angie, Barbara or Jess at (626) 284-1142 for an appointment at 20274 Carrey Road, Walnut, CA 91789 or 1000 S. Fremont Ave., Mailstop 58, Building A-10 South Suite 10042, Alhambra, CA 91803.

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