Over the last several decades, medical science has made dramatic strides, and many injuries and illnesses that would once have represented a death sentence are now treated as a matter of course. Unfortunately, astronomical costs have gone hand-in-hand with the improvements in skills and technology, and as a result, many people have found themselves grateful for their lives but saddled with overwhelming debt.

If high medical bills have put you in a position where you are unable to pay any of your bills, you are not alone. Medical debt is among the most common reasons for people to file for bankruptcy. Though filing for bankruptcy may feel unfair if you’ve always paid your bills up until the time that you became sick, the good news is that by taking advantage of this legal process, your medical bills can be entirely wiped out.

No matter what the cause of your overwhelming debt, once you begin the process of filing for bankruptcy your debts will be separated into two separate pots: priority and nonpriority unsecured debt. Medical debt is unsecured, in much the same way that your credit card bills are, and they do not rank as a priority for payment. That category is reserved for things like child support and past-due tax obligations or legal settlements. The real question of how your medical bills will be addressed depends upon whether you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy of Chapter 13. Though both can wipe out your medical debt, Chapter 7 will simply eliminate almost all of your unsecured debts while Chapter 13 would likely combine all of your debts into one lump sum, then reduce the total and provide you with a payment plan that you can pay off over a prescribed, limited period of time.

The determination of which Chapter you file under may not be up to you: in order to file under Chapter 7, you must meet certain qualifications regarding the amount of disposable income you have available while filing under Chapter 13 will generate a calculation based on income, fixed expenses and your nonexempt assets to determine how much you are able to pay.

Though it may feel uncomfortable to you to consider filing for bankruptcy, you may have little choice in the face of the bills from a catastrophic injury or illness. For information on how to go about determining whether bankruptcy is right for you, contact our office today.

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