Feb 10, 2012: Collecting a Judgment

Even when you win a lawsuit in court, it's not always a simple matter to collect the amount awarded in the judgment. You may have to take additional steps to get the money you're owed. If the debtor is in another state, it becomes even more complicated.

Stable businesses usually pay willingly in order to avoid additional expense and the unpleasantness associated with the collection process. If a debtor doesn’t have the money or simply refuses to pay, collecting can sometimes be quite difficult.

Collecting Your Settlement
  • Available Cash
  • Assets
  • Bank account

If you have a judgment against a business, you may be able to get law enforcement to seize the cash the company has on hand, often directly from cash registers. Businesses may also have other assets like expensive equipment you may be able to seize. But then you have to sell it to get cash… or you may be able to use the equipment in your own business. It's also possible to garnish a business’ bank account. However, when they know you're coming after them, they're often able to deplete those accounts.

The time limit for collecting judgments is typically 10 years in most places. But, you can often reset the clock and renew the judgment for another 10 years. If, however, the company files bankruptcy, the ability to collect your judgment is terminated.

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