Collection from Judgement

A judgment for any amount does not hold weight unless there is a way to collect that money. More than a year later and after spending 2.5 million dollars, Carole Baskin collected a portion of her million-dollar judgment against Joe Exotic.

In a personal injury case, one important factor that should always be considered is how a judgment will be collected.  If there isn’t a way to collect money to satisfy the judgment, then a personal injury claim may not be worth pursuing.  Take for example a motor vehicle accident personal injury claim.  If you are injured in a car accident, the first request made of the party who caused the accident is that individual or corporation’s insurance policy.  An attorney who makes this request is looking for whether the individual or corporation has bodily injury protection coverage.  If the individual or corporation does not have bodily injury protection coverage, your personal injury attorney should next look to your own car insurance policy and determine if you have underinsured motorist coverage.  In some cases, there is neither bodily injury protection or underinsured motorist coverage.

If no insurance coverage exists, a personal injury claim is still viable.  In fact, a personal injury claim can continue through the court system and end with a jury verdict in your favor.  After the jury delivers its verdict, the judge assigned to the case will then enter a final judgment.  The judgment is what used to collect from the person who caused the accident.

While it may seem simple, collecting on a judgment is a separate proceeding that can be quite lengthy and costly.  In some cases, a personal injury client may never collect on the judgment entered because there is nothing to collect, i.e. no property, money, or other assets.  Florida is also one of the most difficult states to collect judgments due to homestead.

The case between Carole Baskin and Joe Exotic, if anything, has taught us that lawsuits go beyond being right or wrong.  A jury and/or a judge could rule in our favor, but the amount of money awarded does not necessarily mean that the money will be retrieved easily, if at all.   In the case of Carole Baskin, it took more than a year after the judgment was entered as well as a substantial amount of time and money to collect a part of the million-dollar judgment.  This begs the question of whether Carole Baskin feels that justice was finally served or does she feel like her time and money was wasted.