One of the biggest worries clients in the world of personal injury services have is that they won't be able to get compensation even if they win their cases. Defendants who are effectively too poor or bankrupt are sometimes called judgment-proof. This means they might effectively avoid paying even if a court orders it because they're broke.
What does a personal injury lawyer tell a client to do in this situation? There may be some options so let's look at them.
Verify that the Defendant Is Judgment-Proof
People and organizations lie about and even falsify their finances to make themselves appear broke. Oftentimes, they really are, but it's not always the case. An attorney may perform a credit check to see what the defendant's finances really are. Even if the defense has lots of liabilities and is facing bankruptcy, it might be possible to assert your position as a creditor.
Note that none of this applies if the defendant has insurance. In that scenario, a personal injury lawyer would go after the insurance company for a settlement. If the insurer doesn't want to settle, then you might have to sue. However, if the defense loses the case, there's a good chance the insurance provider will be on the hook, anyhow.
Consider Another Defendant
This is a tougher option to explore because liability tends to sit squarely with one party. However, there are scenarios where multiple parties might be at fault, and you may be able to pursue compensation by basically suing everybody.
There are also two possibilities where a second party might be liable. First, under vicarious liability, sometimes an employer or a contracting party is liable for the actions of an employee or a designee. Second, a theory of premises liability may put a business on the hook if it hasn't addressed known concerns involving assaults, burglaries, and other crimes at a location.
Seek a Court Order for Payments, Garnishments, or Liens
You might have to get the compensation out of the defense slowly. For example, you might ask the judge to issue an order garnishing a defendant's wages. Similarly, you may seek a lien against the assets of a business or an individual. Also, you could ask the court to compel the defendant to set up a payment plan. Notably, a defendant in poor financial shape may ask the judge to set up payments. Generally, a party has to be in endlessly dire circumstances before they become truly judgment-proof.
Contact a local personal injury lawyer to learn more about your compensation options.Share