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Collecting Court Judgments in Personal Injury Lawsuits

By Farhan Naqvi, Personal Injury Lawyer in Las Vegas

Many Clark County residents are familiar with the practice of suing another person or company in civil court and getting monetary compensation as a result. However, very few understand the actual process of collecting the money that they are owed – even after a favorable court verdict. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as picking up a check from the defense table on your way out of the courtroom after the verdict has been read.

Many plaintiffs who have endured the lengthy legal process of pre-trial motions, discovery, and a trial are discouraged when they find out that they may have to spend even more time collecting the money that is rightfully theirs. Even in the face of a court verdict, defendants may claim that they are too illiquid to assemble the funds or too penniless to afford the damages – or they may just be too plain stubborn to part with their money.

As a rule, a plaintiff has about ten years to collect a civil court judgment, but that timeframe can be extended if a judge deems it necessary. If a defendant is not forthcoming with paying a judgment, the plaintiff does have some recourse.

  • The plaintiff may ask the court to garnish the wages of the defendant. This means that a sum of money is taken out of every paycheck received by the defendant until the judgment is paid off.
  • If the defendant is suspected of lying about his or her financial situation, the plaintiff’s lawyer can conduct what is called post-judgment discovery. The process is similar to pre-trial discovery, but it focuses on finding and exposing the assets and finances of the defendant.
  • In some cases, a plaintiff may be allowed by the court to seize assets of the defendant (especially if the defendant is a business). These assets can be sold and the proceeds given to the plaintiff as part of the judgment payment. 

Your personal injury attorney can answer any questions you have about the judgment collection process, and can even continue to represent you after the verdict to help you actually get the money that was granted to you by the courts.

About the Editor: Farhan R. Naqvi is a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer who has experience representing victims injured in car accidents, drunk driver crashes, truck wrecks, slip and falls, taxi cab accidents, and bicycle crashes. He also has experience handling spine injury, product liability, underinsured/uninsured driver, and wrongful death cases. If you’ve been seriously hurt in an accident in Summerlin, North Las Vegas, Clark County, Henderson, Boulder City, Green Valley, or Pahrump, give Farhan a call at 702-553-1000 for a free, no-hassle consultation.