Legal Options for When an At-Fault Driver Cannot Pay Damages

Maryland car accidents can be scary and stressful. However, car crash victims often comfort themselves because they can recover compensation from the fault driver. These damages can cover the survivor’s vehicle repairs and medical bills. Unfortunately, Maryland drivers often get into accidents with parties who don’t have money.

Such situations can make damage recovery more difficult than usual. Furthermore, if you don’t have the correct information, you may not recover anything at all. Therefore, it’s best to hire a Maryland car accident attorney immediately after any car accident. If the fault driver doesn’t have any money, an experienced lawyer will know other means to get you compensation.

What Are My Options if the At-Fault Party Doesn’t Have Money?

Suing someone who has no money can be exhausting. After expending your resources on legal representation, you may not even get the judgment debt. However, if you win a case against such a party, you become a judgment creditor. Conversely, the fault party becomes the judgment debtor.

Therefore, although the party cannot pay immediately, you have many legal alternatives. They include:

  • Personal Income Garnishment

If the fault party has no money, you can go after their wages. This would be the case where they’re employed. However, you can only take about 25% of their weekly or monthly wages. The law often doesn’t allow you to collect the part of their paycheck they need to support themselves and their dependents. However, you’ll need a lawyer in case the debtor applies for a wage exemption.

  • Personal Assets

You can also proceed against the fault party’s assets. This could include real and personal property. Furthermore, you can also look at the party’s bank accounts. But, again, the law doesn’t allow you to take all the money someone has. For instance, you may not touch their retirement accounts. However, you can try collecting the judgment from regular checking, savings, and investment accounts.

Furthermore, the law may also protect a judgment debtor’s vehicles. This is often the case where the party uses the car for commercial purposes. In such instances, the vehicle is their means of employment.

Finally, the law may also protect certain buildings that they have. For example, it may be more challenging to sell the fault party’s personal home to recover your money. Generally, you’ll need an attorney to confirm which funds or properties you can use to get the judgment debt.

  • Future Money or Assets

Indeed, an indigent fault party can become rich tomorrow. You can collect a judgment debt anytime as long as it hasn’t expired. Furthermore, you can even renew judgment debts. In Maryland, you can renew a judgment debt every 12 years. Therefore, as long as you keep renewing it, you can collect the debt anytime the fault party comes into money. Finally, if they purchase any significant assets in the future, you can also proceed against those assets.

  • Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) can protect you when an at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance coverage. Conversely, underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) comes in when the fault driver has insufficient coverage. Maryland law requires both insurance types. UM and UIM can cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses where the responsible driver cannot pay. Finally, it’s essential to note that these two insurance types are part of your insurance coverage.

  • Wait and Sue Later

Another option when suing a fault party that can’t pay is to wait and sue them later. Then, you can observe when their fortunes improve and initiate the lawsuit. First, however, you must be mindful of Maryland’s Statute of Limitations.

A Statute of Limitations prescribes time limits within which you must file lawsuits. In Maryland, you have only three years to bring a car accident claim. So, you could wait to see if the responsible party becomes buoyant within three years and then proceed to sue them.

Let Maryland’s Best Car Accident Lawyers Help You Decide Whether and When to Sue

Deciding to sue a person isn’t a small matter, especially when the fault party doesn’t have money. Therefore, it would be best to make this decision with professional guidance. If you have survived a Maryland car accident and the fault party doesn’t have any money, you can still get compensation. However, it’ll be best to seek the advice of Maryland car accident lawyers on how to proceed with your claim.

At Pinder Plotkin, LLC, our attorneys have encountered defendants who couldn’t pay. Therefore, we apply the experience we used in handling such defendants to your case too. So, why not call us today for a consultation on your case?

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