If you've recently filed and won a lawsuit with an individual due to an accident or injury, your main concern is how to collect damages. There are many reasons for holdups when in regards to receiving a settlement from a lawsuit. Waiting on the insurance company can take several weeks or months. If you're going after the defendants assets or income, there are certain steps to take in order to get your money.
Here are a few ways to go about collecting money owed to you after a lawsuit.
Ask your accident lawyer about moving forward with the judgment and the collection process. If the judge has ruled in your favor, you have the right to inquire about a discovery hearing. This is where the court orders the defendant to turn over all of his assets and financial records to the court. From there, a court officer or clerk will examine the defendant's records to determine what can be used as payment to satisfy the judgment.
If you've won a judgment in your case, you can also garnish the defendant's wages in order to satisfy the amount owed to you. You can file a petition with the court to begin the garnishment process. You should have all of the pertinent information acquired from the discovery hearing to gain access to the defendant's employer.
If not, your accident lawyer may hire a skip tracer to track down any income that the defendant has coming in. A skip tracer uses various methods—including running driver's license and social security numbers to track down personal and financial data.
If you're owed a lot of money, you may want to go after the defendant's assets in order to satisfy the judgment. Each state and county jurisdiction has their own set of rules and regulations and you must abide by them. Once you have judge approval for a search and seizure you can go to the defendant's property and seize certain items including:
- RV and ORV equipment
- Some appliances and furniture
- Antiques and other valuable items
- Cash on hand
- Electronics worth a high resale value
Some items you can't take are personal items such as beds, clothes, food and appliances that the defendant needs for day-to-day living. Seizing property is a very personal and invasive act. Your attorney will likely recommend that you utilize the assistance of law enforcement or a collection professional to gain access to personal property and carry out the seizure of property.
Levy Bank Accounts
You can levy someone's bank account and garnish the money they have in checking and savings. Once the order to garnish or levy is enforced it's usually only done one time per order. If there is no money in their account at that time, you won't be able to attempt to collect again under a new order for another three months or longer. You can do this repeatedly until you collect the funds owed.
Going after the defendant in a case to get your money is challenging, time consuming and expensive. Hiring a good personal injury lawyer will help simplify the process and aid in bringing resolution swiftly. For more information, contact a company like Mauro Savo Camerino Grant & Schalk with any questions or concerns you have.