When you file a personal injury lawsuit against someone, there are certain steps your Atlanta injury lawyer needs to take. The first thing you have to do is file a complaint with the local court. When you do this, your attorney will have to prove that they served a copy on the defendant. All this means is that you made sure a copy of the complaint was sent to the other party. This can be done using certified mail or you can hire someone to serve it personally on the defendant. Once you do this, the other side has a chance to file a response. Or, as many people do, they can choose to ignore it.
Whether or not it’s good news that the defendant didn’t respond depends on the situation. It’s great to get a judgment against someone. However, there’s usually a good reason why somebody would ignore a lawsuit. Either they don’t care because they have no assets, or they figure they don’t have a defense. Your Atlanta injury lawyer will be able to discern which category your case falls into. Then they can help you figure out how best to proceed.
The Defendant Has the Right to File an Answer
Every court gives the defendant in any civil action the chance to file a response to a lawsuit. This is called the defendant’s response. They have thirty (30) days to do this. If they fail to file their response, your Atlanta injury lawyer has the right to file a motion for default judgment. In most cases, this motion is going to be granted. That’s because there’s nobody to oppose their motion.
There is a chance that the defendant will file a response to this motion. They’ll tell the court why they didn’t file a response and hope they’ll be given the chance to do this. Unfortunately, if a defendant shows up for the motion for a default hearing, the judge will give them a chance to file an answer. But if they don’t show up, there’s a good chance the judge will grant your motion and sign off on a default judgment.
What Do You Do with Your Default Judgment?
The question a lot of clients have is what they do next. If you get a default judgment, do you just wait for something to happen? That is a tricky question. If you had a judgment against a large business or insurance company, your Atlanta injury lawyer would be able to go after the defendant for payment. If your judgment is against an individual, things are a lot different.
In the movie and on TV, having a judgment against someone can be very powerful. They make it look like you can seize a person’s home or car in order to get your judgment paid. This may be true for very large judgments, but very rarely will a court authorize this. Once you get your judgment, you have to execute that judgment. This can be done using wage garnishments, bank levies, and liens against the defendant’s property. The problem is that there are a lot of protections in place for debtors. There are limitations on how much of a person’s check you can take. There are also difficulties when it comes to going after a person’s bank account. Your Atlanta injury lawyer will go over your options based on the defendant’s assets and financial situation.
It All Depends on What Assets the Defendant Has
If the defendant has property, your best bet is to simply file a copy of the judgment with the county court. This way, if the defendant decides to sell their property at some point, they’ll have to pay you off. The problem with this is that the defendant may never sell their property. What your Atlanta injury lawyer can do is offer the defendant a chance to pay less than the full judgment amount as an incentive to pay.
Call and Talk to an Experienced Atlanta Injury Lawyer Today
The best thing to do first is to call an Atlanta injury lawyer and set up your initial consultation. You can sit down with an attorney who’s handled cases like yours before. The first meeting doesn’t cost you anything. This means you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Between you and your attorney, you can decide how you want to proceed. The consultation is free, and you can make a decision on how to proceed after you meet with one of our skilled Atlanta injury lawyers.