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What Does It Mean when The Defendant Is Judgment Proof?

Guy DiMartino Sept. 13, 2015


I was talking to a lawyer about a potential case and he said that he would not take the case because the other party is judgment proof. What does it mean to be judgment proof?

The concept of judgment proof goes to the ability to collect money from that person or entity. Let me give you an example, say the person who caused your injuries in an accident had the state's minimum insurance of $25,000 but your medical expenses are $100,000. In this situation, we would have to look beyond the other driver's insurance policy to see if there is additional money available to collection.

If the other driver doesn't have any assets to collect if you are able to receive a judgment, he will be considered judgment proof. This means you have the potential of getting a large verdict against the other party but in the end you may just have a piece of paper because if he's not collectable, he's judgment proof.

The ability to collect a judgment is a factor that always has to be discussed when there are settlement offers in personal injury matters.