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Requirement #4: Be able to obtain the money owed from the responsible party/parties

By The Husband and Wife Law Team on October 29, 2008

Mark Breyer, Arizona personal injury attorney, continues his discussion of requirements that are incumbent upon any personal injury plaintiff to prove to win their case.

This “fourth part” of a personal injury case is not written anywhere in the law. It is not in any textbooks we read in law school, and it is rarely covered in any of personal injury conferences. It is not usually covered in the conferences where we have spoken to other lawyers, nor in the conference we have attended. However, this requirement is often as important to the injured person as the first three elements. Someone can prove they were badly injured due to the negligent actions of another, prove they were seriously hurt, and prove the extent of those injuries. They can receive a fair and just verdict awarding reasonable damages to compensate them for the effect the personal injury had on their life. The judge can sign the final paperwork, which is called a judgment, and make the verdict official.

The injury victim now has a signed judgment awarding them money against the at-fault defendant. It is now a matter of law that the defendant must pay every penny of this judgment. Now, what? Well, if that defendant has no money and no assets, that judgment is not worth the paper it is printed on. The phrase “you can’t get blood from a turnip” often comes to mind. Basically, the fourth element that we discuss with our potential clients is the need to be able to ensure that a judgment against the at-fault defendant will result in actual benefit to a victim. Otherwise, the entire claim and litigation process – the time, effort, and energy invested by the client and his lawyers is a waste.

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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer