Getting Paid After A Successful Claim For Compensation
When filing a personal injury claim in court against multiple defendants it is not always guaranteed that all the defendants will pay the award ordered by the jury. A defendant may fail to pay for many reasons including an inability to pay. Where there are multiple defendants, the law, in some states, allows the responsibility of paying the plaintiff’s award to be shared by all the defendants in such a way that ensures the plaintiff gets paid if at least one of the defendants can foot the bill. This takes place through the doctrine of joint and several liability.
The doctrine of joint and several liability allows a plaintiff who is injured by more than one defendant to pursue a claim against one or both defendants in order to receive compensation. Furthermore, if a judgment is awarded against all defendants, the plaintiff can collect the entire judgment from one defendant, with that defendant being left with the task of collecting any reimbursement or contribution from the other defendants.
Joint and several liability is not applicable in all states. In Georgia, a plaintiff can only collect damages from each defendant according to their determined percentage of fault. When the damages are divided in this way, and a defendant fails to pay his portion, the plaintiff may be left with a partial award because he cannot collect the unpaid portion from the other defendant(s). If there are other parties who were not included in the lawsuit but may have been involved in causing harm to the plaintiff, the court may also determine their percentage fault, although the plaintiff would have a hard time collecting their portion of the award.
Florida law similarly restricts a defendant’s liability to his percentage or pro rata share of fault as determined by the jury during the trial. Therefore, in Florida too, the plaintiff is equally left in a situation whereby he may not receive the full compensation for his injuries if all defendants cannot pay.
All is not lost for plaintiffs in Florida and Georgia as there are other ways to collect a judgment from a defendant who has been found liable for injuries but cannot presently pay the judgment. A plaintiff can pursue wage garnishment or liens against the defendant’s personal or real property in order to ensure that the plaintiff eventually receives compensation. There are statutes of limitations on the time a plaintiff has to either collect a judgment or start proceedings to collect the judgment. For example, in Florida the statute of limitations on collecting on a judgment is twenty years, while in Georgia it is seven years although the judgment may be renewed before the seventh year for additional time.
Let Us Assist You
If you were injured as a result of the negligent actions of another person, you may be able to seek compensation from that person or his insurance company. For a free consultation on your case, contact the experienced Florida and Georgia at Gillette Law, P.A.