In the broadest sense, a claim is any right to payment held by a person or company against the debtor. A claim does not have to be a past due amount but can include an anticipated sum of money which will come due in the future.
Once you have determined that you have a claim against a debtor it is very important that you complete a proof of claim. A proof of claim is the written statement filed in a bankruptcy case setting forth a creditor's claim. The proof of claim should include or conform to Official Form 10 and contain documentation supporting the claim amount as well as evidence of any security interest if the debt claimed is to be secured. To download a proof of claim form, please use the Find a Case feature at right, choose a case, and then click on the box labeled “Proof of Claim Form”.
Additionally, in a chapter 11 case, the court sets a "Bar Date," the last date by which claims must be filed. If you receive a Notice of the Bar Date and do not understand what your rights and obligations may be, you may want to consult an attorney.
For more details on claims, please see our FAQ page or our Glossary of Terms page.