Over 40 million lawsuits are filed in the United States every year. Many of them result in judgments where defendants are ordered to pay plaintiffs bulk sums of money or money in installments.
Since you’re reading this post, it may be that you’ve just been awarded damages from the court. If that’s the case, congratulations!
Fighting court battles can be stressful and having the ordeal conclude in a favorable manner is always something that’s worth celebrating.
Unfortunately, judgment collection can be every bit as hard as managing a lawsuit. To help you set your expectations as you try to get the money that you’re owed, here are 5 things that you should know.
1. Judgments Are Not Automatically Paid Out
Many people think that once the court concludes, damages that result from a judgment are automatically sent to a victim’s/plaintiff’s checking account. That is not the case.
Once you leave the courtroom, it’s the defendant’s responsibility to keep up with whatever payment structure was decided on in court. Many times, they don’t.
That leaves plaintiffs without their money and puts the burden on them to fight for what they’re owed.
2. You May Have to Conduct an Investigation
The most common excuse for not honoring a judgment collection ruling is that the money isn’t there. For example, if a judge ruled that a defendant needed to pay you $50,000.00 and the defendant said that they didn’t have that much money, how could they pay you?
Where things get tricky is that many times, defendants do have the money but claim that they don’t.
In order to prove that the person that owes you has assets or is making enough money to pay you off gradually, you may need to hire a private investigator.
3. Wage Garnishments May Be Possible
In some states, if you can prove that a debtor is making money and hasn’t paid you anything, a judge will order wage garnishments.
Wage garnishments are great for collectors because money will automatically funnel out of a debtor’s paycheck and into a collector’s pocket each month in the same way that most structured settlements do.
4. Bankruptcy May Forfeit Your Right to Collect
If a person owes you money and they have not declared bankruptcy twice already, they can declare bankruptcy and all of their debts will be absolved. That means that they won’t have to pay you your settlement.
Note that there are certain types of debts that bankruptcy does not absolve.
5. There Are Attorneys That Specialize in Collections
Does all of that judgment collection information sound like more than you can deal with? If it does, just hire a collections attorney.
They specialize in getting clients the money that they’re owed and work for an hourly rate or on “contingency pay” if you prefer which means that they’ll pay themselves out of whatever they help you collect.
Closing Out Our Judgment Collection Information
Judgment collection can be tricky business due to the way that the US legal system is set up. By preparing for the worst, you’ll be in a good position to navigate any issues that you might run into and will improve your odds of getting the money that you’re owed.
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