I always assumed that personal injury cases where pretty straight forward. After being in an accident, any financial losses that you suffered would be reimbursed by the liable party's insurance company. Unfortunately, things only work this way in a perfect world. In the real world, personal injury cases are extremely complex and getting the insurance company to pay a fair settlement requires the expertise of an experienced injury lawyer. Unfortunately, it took me several months to finally seek out the legal assistance I needed. As a result, I waited much longer than necessary to get the compensation I so desperately needed. During this time, I learned more about personal injury law than I ever thought I would. It is my hope that this blog will allow me to share that knowledge with you so that you can avoid making some of the same mistakes that I did.
Ideally, a party that loses a personal injury case should pay the plaintiff after the judgment is issued. In reality, there are people or organizations that fail to do so, and you have to make further effort to get your money. Here are a few measures that can help you in case a losing defendant doesn't wish to pay you:
Post Judgment Discovery
The first thing you should determine is whether or not the losing party has the money to pay you. The best way to do this is for your attorney to conduct a post-judgment discovery. Also known as a post-trial discovery, it enables your attorney to uncover the defendant's sources of money as well as the nature of his or her existing assets.
If you know, either through the discovery process or otherwise, that the debtor does indeed have the means to pay you, you can move to garnish his or her income. Wage garnishment laws allow you to go after debtor's wages or bank accounts. Note that state laws have a limit to the percentage of the salary or bank account you may be allowed to garnish, but it will still be better than not getting your money at all.
If the losing party is a company, then it cannot have a salary, but it can have money in the register, bank account, as well as ownership of valuable assets. Such assets may include machinery, computers and even real estate property. Don't make the mistake of seizing these assets under your authority, only a law enforcement officer (such as a sheriff) can do this with the court's authority.
Foreign Judgment Filing
There are also cases where a defendant runs to another state after losing a case. Such cases are complicated because the state may not allow you to collect money due to a judgment issued in a foreign state. In such a situation, you have no option but to file your judgment in that state and have it recorded as a foreign judgment. After that, you can proceed with the collection as usual.
What about if the party doesn't have the means to pay your settlement? In such a case, you have no option but to wait for the day when he or she will have the money to do so. Since there are statutes of limitations for collecting judgment, you may have to petition the court for a renewal if it elapses before you can get your money.
Talk to experts like Palmetto Injury Lawyers for more information.Share