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Personal Injury Primer Part III - Collecting On A Judgment

Just because you won your personal injury case and received a judgment in your favor doesn't meant that you automatically collect.  In many cases, although the plaintiff has won, the defendant refuses to pay.  However, there are several mechanisms which will allow a successful plaintiff to collect his judgment. 

1.  Wage Garnishment - If the plaintiff has received a judgment against an individual and knows where that individual works, the plaintiff can file a wage garnishment.  A wage garnishment operates to remove up to 25% of the defendant's paycheck every pay period.  Wage garnishments only work, however, when the defendant is employed and doesn't have any other outstanding wage garnishments such as child support.

2. Bank Attachment - Bank attachment allows a plaintiff that knows which financial institution at which the defendant banks to remove the amount of the judgment directly from the defendant's bank account.  Bank attachment works against both individual and corporate defendants, but is subject to certain restrictions.  For instance, bank attachments in Ohio only apply to funds in the account in excess of $450.00. 

3. Property Lien - A property lien allows the plaintiff to have the sheriff seize the defendant's property upon which the lien is placed, sell said property, and then satisfy plaintiff's judgment from the proceeds.  Property liens can be difficult to obtain and often take a long time to yield results.  Also, the proceeds from a sheriff sale may not be sufficient to satisfy a large judgment.

Choosing the best option to collect on a judgment can be a very strategic decision and is usually best-handled by an attorney with knowledge and experience of the collection process.  If you are in need of legal advice, contact an experienced Personal Injury Attorney today.

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