If you sue an insured person, as long as the insurance covers the damage, then you are sure of getting your judgment if you win the case. It's different in cases where there is no insurance and the defendant has to come up with the money should he or she loses. In such a case, you should know your chances of collecting the judgment before filing a lawsuit. Here are four indications that your chances of getting the money are good:
He or She Has an Income and Assets
States have laws that allow you to garnish a defendant's income or assets if he or she loses a case and doesn't have other ways of paying the judgment. For this, you have to go back to court to prove that he or she has failed to pay you.
Note that you may not get the whole amount because there may be limits to how much of his or her assets and money you can take. Also, there are protected incomes and assets that you cannot touch. In Maryland, for example, you may not garnish a person's social security benefits.
He or She Is a Licensed Professional
If the defendant is a licensed professional, then some states allow you to file the court judgments with his or her licensing board. That way, the board may cancel the member's license until he or she pays you. In most cases, it will not reach this point because professionals value their licenses; they will do anything in their power to pay you.
He or She Is Expecting Future Income
The fact that your defendant doesn't have money immediately after losing a lawsuit doesn't mean that he or she won't have it forever. Many states give you between 5 to 20 years to collect the money, and there may be renewals to stretch the statute of limitations. Perhaps he or she is just starting a business or finishing college; which means the money may be there sometime in the future. Suing such a person may be worthwhile because you can hold on until he or she gets the money and then collect your judgment.
He or She Has a Recent Bankruptcy Discharge
Your defendant's recent bankruptcy doesn't mean that the money is there. However, it means that he or she can't file for bankruptcy in a bid to avoid paying your judgment. This is because a person can only file for a second bankruptcy after waiting for between four to eight years depending on the type of discharged he or she received and the one he or she wishes to file for.
Contact a lawyer from a firm like The Reed Noble Law Firm PLLC to learn more about the laws surrounding lawsuit judgment collection.