If Iwon a lawsuit, how do I collect the unpaid portion of the debt?

UPDATED: Jul 13, 2010

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If Iwon a lawsuit, how do I collect the unpaid portion of the debt?

My car was totalled in a car accident. The defendant was uninsured, fled the scene, and did not have a valid license. It’s been about 2 1/2 years since I won the court case. I only received 1 payment. When is it to late to collect?

Asked on July 13, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Alabama


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

The good news, if you have a judgment in Alabama, you typically have up to 20 years to enforce it. The bad news, of course, is that if the debtor has no money, it doesn't matter how long you have--you won't be able to collect. There are some mechanisms you can try to collect. For example, you can go back to court to get an order garnishing (or taking part of) the defendant's wages. You might also be able to execute against some of his property, which means to force a sale of it for your benefit. Or you could possibly garnish his bank account. Those last two remedies, too, like any remedy to collect on a judgment, will involve going back to court. Since someone who is uninsured and did not have a valid license might not have meaningful assets or income, you should first ask yourself whether it worthwhile to continue pursuing this.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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