After a civil court has found that your personal injury award is $15,000, how do you collect that money? Are some cases impossible to collect on? There are several ways you can attempt to collect money owed for a civil judgment. However, there are cases in which collecting the money you are owed simply will not happen.

Ways to Collect a Civil Judgment

If an individual or a business is stable financially, then any civil judgment is generally paid – quickly. This is due to the fact that they simply don’t want to mess with collection companies or have their name portrayed in a negative light.

If a company or an individual refuses to pay the judgment, then it could be difficult for you to collect. However, in most states, you can use post-judgment discovery to determine if the person or the business has sources of income. Some of the parts of the discovery process include:

  • Interrogatories
  • Depositions
  • Requests for documents
  • And much more.

Most states also allow the plaintiff to garnish the debtor’s pay. The amount of the garnishment is usually limited to 25 percent of the person’s pay. In order to garnish someone’s wages, you will usually have to go before a judge and explain what the money is for (case number) and why you believe a garnishment is necessary. Bank accounts may also be garnished.

If a business owes you money on a judgment, some states allow the sheriff of the county in which the business is located to seize money from the cash register. If there is not enough cash in the register, there may be many items that can be seized and sold to go toward the debt. This should only be done by or with law enforcement.

Do I Need an Attorney to Collect a Civil Judgment?

In most states, you will need to have a lawyer help you try to collect a civil judgment. There are simply too many complex forms to complete. If the forms are not completed correctly, it could delay seizing any money or assets, giving the debtor time to hide that cash and assets somewhere else.

For help understanding your legal rights when it comes to collecting on a civil judgment, you may wish to consider seeking guidance from an experienced attorney in your area.