Personal Injury Judgments Enforcement FAQ
How Do I Enforce A Personal Injury Judgment?
Most lawyers who do personal injury are contingency fee lawyers. This means they get paid a percentage of what they collect. Usually, an insurance company pays. If the defendant has no insurance, they are sometimes called judgment proof, even when they have substantial assets. And since a personal injury judgment is not a secured debt, absent a fraud finding, the defendant can bankrupt the entire judgment. The only solid type of court order is connected with criminal cases.
In those cases, the defendant may be ordered by a judge to pay restitution for the plaintiff's serious injuries or the death of someone as a form of victim's restitution. But normally, insurance will cover at least some of the harm. Because of this, enforcing a PI law verdict is not usually something we have to do regularly. Luckily, in most cases, insurance companies will pay off the judgment.
- The judgment orders the defendant to pay the jury award. So if the case wins at trial, judgment is in favor of the injured plaintiff.
If the judgment remains unpaid, it is usually due to bankruptcy. So, in that case, the plaintiff stands in line after the secured creditors. And this is because the judgment remains an unsecured debt.
If you can find assets, which is rarer, the court can attach these assets. Same with garnishing wages. But often, the debtor works off the grid to avoid creditors like you. So it's not easy to enforce.
So yes, you can enforce a judgment. The kicker is that most lawyers will want to be paid hourly because you will likely not get paid even if you win an order to enforce.
But if you have another legal issue or injury claim not discussed above, we can probably help. We have convenient locations all across the State of California, including San Bernardino, Torrance, Newport Beach, and Carlsbad. Call Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC, now at (213) 596-9642.