Personal injury lawyers focus on trying to win cases for obvious reasons. However, there may be more to deal with after you've won. Particularly, you might face the scenario where a defendant either can't or won't pay the settlement or judgment.
What do you do? Here is how personal injury attorneys address this problem.
Confirm There's a Problem
The first order of business is to make sure the other side isn't dealing with a problem that might be reasonable. Usually, a law firm sends a written notice to the unsuccessful defendant, reminding them of their obligation to pay and asking if anything might be going on. After all, it might be possible to still make payment arrangements or set up an annuity if the defendant needs to stretch the payments out over more time.
While a victorious claimant holds all the cards in this scenario, it's still a good idea to give the defendant a chance. A good-faith effort early in the process will make it easier for a judge to deal aggressively with the situation later if circumstances don't change.
Go to Court
Yes, it might seem a little silly for someone who reached a settlement to still have to sue, but that can happen. Likewise, someone who won a case at trial may have to return to court to enforce the judgment.
Generally, courts favor trying to resolve problems like this with negotiation and reasonable concessions. For example, a judge may order the two parties to hammer out a payment arrangement if the defense is capable of honoring it.
If there isn't a way to get the defendant to pay or they simply won't out of extreme stubbornness, the court then has two options. First, it can place a lien on the defendant's assets and accounts. Second, it can garnish their wages.
When a judge orders a lien of the defendant's assets, a court-appointed officer will assess their value. You will then be given a lien on the assets necessary to satisfy the settlement or judgment.
A judge can also order wage garnishment. In this scenario, the judge informs the defendant's employer to send part of each paycheck to the court. The court will then transfer the money to the claimant, and this will continue until the settlement or judgment is paid in full.
A mixed solution is possible. The court may impose a lien, and then it can order garnishment if that doesn't cover all of the money the defendant rightly owes.Share
19 January 2021
When a person is involved in an accident that's caused by someone else, they may need to speak with an accident and personal injury attorney. Mounting costs of medical care and time off from work can cause money problems for people who are injured. Those who hire an attorney can often receive monetary compensation from the responsible party. We aren't involved in the legal profession, but we do understand the stress that injuries and medical bills can cause. We've researched legal information and written this blog to help those who are in this situation. We hope the articles on our site will answer the questions you have about accident and personal injury attorneys.