I was injured in an accident and now my attorney has sent me a long list of multiple questions sent by the insurance company lawyers called interrogatories. I don't see why I should have to take my personal time to answer these when I was the one that was injured. Do I absolutely have to answer these?

Yes, if you've filed a lawsuit, you must answer interrogatories. But don't spend from here to eternity writing a book. If it's any comfort, your attorney has the right to send questions and requests for documents to the insurance company lawyers. Make sure these have gone out, and get a copy of the answers.

Rise to the challenge and do a great job. Like a baseball player stepping up to the plate against that feared pitcher with the fastballs and curve balls, take your best swing and hit it out of the park. If they throw curve balls, you have an opportunity to connect with the ball and slam it over the Green Monster.

That's your job here. The law is that the mere fact of an injury does not entitle a person to recover. Court rules place the burden of proof on the injured person. So, accept the opportunity to state all the facts, whether they are your observations at the time of the accident, or the recounting of what you went through afterward.

My car is worth less than I owe on the car loan. So, I don't need to list that on my bankruptcy petition, do I?

Yes, bankruptcy requires complete, truthful and accurate disclosure of all of your income, assets and debts. So, you must list the car as an asset on Schedule B. The company to whom you pay the loan is a secured creditor and must be placed on Schedule D.

If you want to keep the car, you can "reaffirm" the debt by signing a reaffirmation agreement. Basically, this means that you retain the car and continue payments as before.

There are other options. In the case of an older but reliable car that is worth much less than the debt, you can "redeem" the car by paying the bank what the car is worth, and then the Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges the debt.

The only other option, where you don't want the car or the debt, is a "surrender." In a Chapter 7 surrender, you give the car back and the debt is discharged. You walk away from both.

In any of these scenarios, bankruptcy law presents many substantive and procedural challenges and you cannot do this without true legal advice covering all of the facts of your overall situation, far beyond the informational summary presented here.

• • •

Andrew Myers of Derry has law offices in Derry and North Andover, Mass. He is a member of the American Association for Justice and the New Hampshire Trial Lawyers Association. Send questions to andrew@attorney-myers.com.

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