In our blog we will try to provide you with general information regarding car accidents, motorcycle crashes, and personal injury cases, as well as updates in important cases and statutes dealing with family law in New Hampshire. This is not to be construed as legal advice. Every case is unique and small facts can make a difference.
Collecting Money After a Settlement Is Won
There is plenty of discussion about what goes on during a personal injury lawsuit, but what happens after a settlement has been agreed upon or a plaintiff has been successfully awarded monetary compensation?
Even after a plaintiff “wins” a personal injury lawsuit in a New Hampshire court, the defendant in the case may not always pay the monetary amount of the judgment in a straightforward manner. Collecting damages after a verdict or settlement may require additional steps, and consequently additional expenses, in order to collect what is owed. Here are 10 things one should bear in mind:
1. Businesses, corporate entities, and individuals that are financially stable generally promptly pay any court ordered judgments that are formally entered against them. It is so done because they wish to avoid any unpleasant contact with collection agencies, personal injury attorneys, and the additional expenses that come along with each.
2. If a business debtor or individual is classified as insolvent, or simply refuses to pay the judgment entered against them, the process of collecting a judgment can become quite difficult.
3. In the state of New Hampshire, a plaintiff who is owed a settlement can have their New Hampshire personal injury lawyer conduct a post-judgment discovery against a debtor in order to uncover what a debtor’s assets and various sources of income are. This process is lengthy and it involves requests for production of documents, interrogatories, depositions, and other similar processes; however, it can discover an unknown plethora of options for receiving the damages one is entitled too.
4. If the person a plaintiff holds a judgment against is another individual (not a business or organization), then a plaintiff can petition an NH court to garnish the other individual’s wages and income in order to collect their settlement. In most instances, the monetary amount that can be garnished from a defendant’s wages is capped at 25% of the debtor’s paycheck.
5. A plaintiff can also petition an NH court to have a business debtor or individual’s bank account to be garnished in order to collect a settlement.
6. If a plaintiff holds a settlement or judgment against a business or company, then it may be possible to have the sheriff within the municipality where the business is located to seize money from the business’s cash register. Businesses may also possess equipment, machinery, and other similar assets that can also be seized.
7. In most states, the statute of limitations for collecting a settlement or judgment is set at ten years, but after this time period has passed, there exists the option to have the judgment renewed for another ten years. Even if the debtor whom the judgment is against does not possess any assets or income in the present, it is possible they could have these in the future.
8. If the individual whom the judgment is against opts to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, then a plaintiff’s ability to collect on their judgment is essentially cut off, as other creditors will be also.
9. In the majority of states within the U.S., a plaintiff will need to retain the services of a lawyer to offer them assistance with their collection efforts. Some personal injury lawyers offer assistance with this step in the process, and collection attorneys can usually be hired on an hourly basis. A collection attorney may also be paid a pre-established percentage of the total monetary amount collected.
10. In order to collect a judgment against a defendant or debtor (or against the debtor’s property) that is located in another state, the awarded judgment will need to be entered as a foreign judgment in the debtor’s state of residence.
Remember that your New Hampshire personal injury attorney has a vested interest in ensuring that receive any settlement to which you are entitled. Most personal injury lawyers operate off of a contingency basis. In the simplest definition, this means that your lawyer does not get paid unless you receive a settlement or judgment in your personal injury case. If you do not collect what is owed to you, then your lawyer does not get paid either. If your personal injury attorney cannot offer assistance with the actual collections process itself, then he or she will be able to recommend an experienced collections attorney who can.
If you require the assistance of a personal injury lawyer in the state of New Hampshire, please contact our law firm today. With decades of collective experience under their belts, each of our personal injury lawyers will provide you with an honest, unbiased assessment of your case and recommend an appropriate course of action. Your initial consultation is free; however, because personal injury claims operate on a time sensitive basis, we encourage you not to delay.
Serving all of New Hampshire. Offices in Nashua, Manchester, Concord, and Portsmouth.
This site does not constitute legal advice. An attorney client relationship is formed only after an agreement is entered into between an Attorney of Liberty Legal and a client is reached. Past results do not guarantee future results.
Disclaimer: Some cases are referred to other law firms with consent of client.
Liberty Legal Services PLLC. Main office: 250 Commercial St #3020 Manchester NH 03101. (603) 262-3196