A dispute arises. You make the decision to take the party you believe to be at fault to court. You file the lawsuit, go through the process and either by default, summary judgment or a final judgment after a trial, the judge awards you a money judgment for your damages and costs. Your feeling really good because you think the judgment means the other party will simply write you a check for the amount the judge awarded you. Isn’t that what a judgment means?
Unfortunately, in most cases, it is not that easy. As was explained to you or should have been explained to you by the judge, a judgment is simply a piece of paper that says A owes B an amount represented by X at the statutory rate of interest. It is not a guarantee of payment within a specified period of time. This can be frustrating to some people as just when they thought the process was over, more work has to be done.
But with a judgment, you know hold a powerful tool that allows you to access to information previously you were probably not entitled to. In most cases involving accidents, negligence, breach of contract, etc., the financial background of the person you are suing is generally irrelevant to the facts of the present case. Now though, armed with a judgment that has been certified and recorded, you have the power to discover this information.
The basic tools of collection are: 1) Completion of the Financial Information Form; 2) Deposition in Aid of Execution; 3) Executing a Writ of Garnishment; 4) Executing a Writ of Attachment; 5) In cases involving a motor vehicle accident and the other driver was uninsured, suspension of their driving privileges.
Over the next several weeks I will be going into more detail discussing the tools listed above and how they can help you collect on your judgment.
As always, please consult with your attorney or an attorney on the best process for you to proceed with.