Checklist before Starting a Lawsuit

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The judgment of a civil case is usually monetary compensation. Based on the judgment, the related parties come to an agreement on how the payment is going to be executed. The person who wins the case is called judgment creditor, and the person who loses the case is called judgment debtor. If the amount is too big, both parties can settle the amount and come up with a payment plan. If the plan does not work out smoothly, the judgment creditor can ask the executive department of the court for help. The court can put a lien on the judgment debtor’s bank accounts or real properties. Each state has slightly different time frames, but usually, the lien is valid for 10 to 20 years.


The judgment debtor has the right to appeal, but the possibility of flipping the judgment at the appellate court is low and the cost of appeal can be burdensome. However, the judgment debtors can be legally freed from the liability if they are eligible to file bankruptcy. The primary purpose of starting a lawsuit is to receive monetary compensation. If there is no chance of actually being compensated from the beginning, there is no reason to go through the lawsuit even if you are going to win the case for sure. You have to invest so much time, money, and effort for nothing. Therefore, you need to confirm a few things before starting a lawsuit.


If you are thinking about a civil lawsuit, you have to find out the financial state of the other party that you are planning to sue. If the defendant does not have any assets, there is no way that the plaintiff could get any monetary compensation. Based on the judgment from the trial, both parties make agreements on the amount of the compensation as well as the payment method. If there is a problem, the judgment creditor should put a lien on the property of the judgment debtor. Once again, if the judgment debtor does not own any assets, there is nothing put a lien on. After the judgment, the court asks the judgment debtor to submit a list of assets, but the judgment debtor usually does not put it honestly in order to protect his or her assets. The judgment debtor can avoid paying the compensation by not owning any assets for 10 to 20 years.


The law requires the judgment creditor to find the assets and ask to put a lien on them. In other words, the court does not find the assets for the judgment creditor. Although the judgment debtor is responsible to disclose all the assets, it is really difficult to find out. Therefore, it is up to the creditor to find the assets on his or her own. The real estate properties are harder to hide; therefore, easier to put a lien on. However, the money in the bank accounts is harder to track because it can be easily transferred. Before starting a lawsuit, you have to find out what kinds of assets the defendant has. If you overlook this truth, you might end up paying the attorney fees out of your pocket and not getting any compensation even if you win the case at the end.


The debtor can be legally waived from the liability through filing bankruptcy. So, you have to find out whether the person you are trying to sue is eligible to file bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding carried out to allow individuals or businesses freedom from their debts. Filing bankruptcy does not mean that you will lose everything you own. There are certain assets you can still own even after filing bankruptcy, and each state has different regulations. If your debt is greater than your current asset, the debt will be entirely forgiven forever. If you have more assets than your debt, you won’t be able to file bankruptcy.


A preliminary injunction is a court order made in the early stages of a lawsuit or petition which prohibits the parties from doing an act in order to preserve the status quo until a pending ruling or outcome. The decision can be made without interrogations, just based on the documents. In other words, the creditor can minimize the damage by freezing the debtor’s assets before receiving the judgment. A preliminary injunction can be used for disputes over money, transferring ownership of real property, and requesting to return property. If the judge does not approve the preliminary injunction, it will give the defendant time to take care of the assets that are listed in the injunction application. So if it is not approved, there won’t be any assets left at the end of the trial. If the defendant owns some kind of real property, the preliminary injunction must be used.


In most cases, the lawyer is responsible for the lawsuit and is not usually involved in the execution of the compensation. Therefore, if your primary goal is to receive the monetary compensation, you have to make it clear from the beginning and hire an attorney who can help you execute the compensation. Most lawyers will say that they will work on the case until they receive the judgment at the trial and tell their clients that they should look for another agency that can help collect the money from the other party. It is because it is much harder to collect the money than to win a case at the court. Therefore, the lawyers actually prefer to settle than getting full compensation through a trial. When you think about the time and money being spent, the settlement could be a better option. It is important to hire a lawyer who is aware of all available options and can come up with different solutions according to the situation.


Keep in mind that it will take years to actually receive the judgment through a trial. You will not be compensated for your time and any other sufferings in the process. Therefore, a settlement is actually the best option if both parties can reach an agreement. However, in some cases, going for a trial is the only option left when it is impossible to settle. Then, you have to find out if the defendant owns any assets so that you can actually get the monetary compensation from the defendant.