Anatomy of a Case

After Trial

Collection of Default Judgment

First, as a recap remember what happens when a Defendant has been sued, properly served and does not appear at trial for their court date? Usually, although not every time, a judge will enter a default judgment in favor of Plaintiff and against any Defendant not appearing. The amount of the judgment is usually for the entire amount requested by the Plaintiff, whether it is owed to the Plaintiff or not. This is why lawyers advise their clients in their original Petition or Complaint to ask for the maximum amount of damages allowable by law. If a Plaintiff has not asked for the maximum amount, the judge may only award the amount the Plaintiff asks for, or proves by the evidence in the Plaintiff's case.

The question is, "Why as a Plaintiff should I ask for more than I am entitled? This does not seem fair." Remember that you are asking for as much as you can because the judge may believe you are entitled to more than you may think you are. Also, a judgment for a larger amount of money can help settle your case and get you paid faster. For example, if you were to be owed $500 by a defendant and you received a judgment for $2,500, imagine the scrambling around the Defendant is going to do when he finds out from his employer that you have garnished his wages, and he will not receive part of his paycheck. You would be surprised at how many offers to settle are made when garnishments or attachments are received.

After Trial
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