Bankruptcy filings rise 22 percent in San Diego area

Bankruptcy filings in the San Diego, California-area increased during the past 12 months, signaling many consumers may be having trouble managing their finances.

The American Bankruptcy Institute found more than 22,800 individuals and 678 businesses submitted bankruptcy petitions to the federal courts in Sand Diego and Imperial Counties in 2010, the San-Diego Union Tribune reports. The number of filings is 22 percent more than the data recorded in 2009. It's also higher than national figures, which saw a 14 percent year-over-year increase.

According to the report, expected job growth and a greater focus from consumers on their spending habits are leading experts to project a decline in bankruptcies during 2011.

Bankruptcies can cause consumers' credit scores to take a hit by as many as 200 points, according to a recent FICO report. For this reason, it's important that individuals check their credit reports regularly to make sure their information is up to date and accurate.

A consumer who finds any problematic items on his or credit report, such as a wrongful bankruptcy mark, may have reason to file a dispute with the credit bureaus. A credit lawyer may help during this process as they have the experience to hold credit companies accountable for making sure their reporting is compliant with federal regulations.