After you have won a personal injury lawsuit, you still have the task of collecting your judgment from the defendant. This should be a painless process, and in many cases it is, but it can also be another difficult task depending on the defendant you are dealing with. Here are some of the things you should know about collecting your judgment:
An Appeal May Delay Your Collection
Personal injury judgments can be appealed just like criminal cases. For example, a defendant who is convinced you have been overcompensated or who thinks they weren't really liable for your damages may lodge an appeal against the judgment. If that happens, then your judgment collection will have to wait until after the appeal process is over.
A Defendant Bankruptcy May Bar You from Making the Collection
In most cases, the defendant's insurance company is the one who signs the settlement check if the plaintiff prevails. However, in a situation where the defendant has inadequate insurance coverage or doesn't have any coverage, you may be able to collect your judgment from the defendant personal assets. However, even this may be out of your reach if the defendant successfully files for bankruptcy before you receive your money. Note that there are a few exceptions to this rule; for example, you may still be able to collect your judgment after the defendant's bankruptcy filing if the case involved a DUI (driving under the influence).
You May Collect the Judgment from Future Defendant's Assets
Just because a defendant doesn't have the money to compensate your damages now, it doesn't mean that will always be the case. The good news is that you can wait and collect your judgment in the future when the defendant's financial resources improve. The period you have to collect your judgment varies by state; it may be as short as five years or as long as 20 years. What is more, most states give you the option to renew the period if it expires while the defendant still doesn't have the resources to pay you.
You Might Need Post-Judgment Discovery
Lastly, you should know that you may need a post-judgment-discovery process if you are having difficulties collecting your judgment. This is a legal process where you gather financial information from the defendant, such as their income and assets, so that you can know whether and how you can collect your judgment.
Hopefully, your judgment collection process will be trouble-free and you will soon have your check. However, if you are having problems with the process, consider retaining your injury lawyer, such as Nicholas B. Hall - Personal Injury Lawyer, to help you get the money you deserve. Although you are free o use any lawyer, you are already familiar with the one who handled your case so using them may be easy for you.Share
7 September 2018