Receiving Payment Following a DC Catastrophic Injury Claim

There are many things that occur after a settlement is reached in a DC catastrophic injury case. Typically, when a catastrophically injured person wins their case, they are compensated by the at-fault party’s insurance carrier.

However, if a defendant does not pay the damages owed after a DC catastrophic injury case, the plaintiff can enforce the judgment in any number of ways.

The most common way is to either attach a property, if there is equity in the property, attach any other assets that are available to the defendant, and/or garnish their wages as permissible in the District of Columbia.

Ability to Compensate

A creditor or a person that has obtained a judgment is allowed to question the defendant under oath to obtain information regarding their assets and resources.

This is to determine if they will be able to pay damages after the trial for a claim.

Potential for Bankruptcy

Depending on the facts and circumstances of the case and the nature of the bankruptcy, a judgment in favor of the plaintiff can be discharged, which means wiped out in bankruptcy.

Appealing the Case

An appeal can be filed after a catastrophic injury claim if there is a legally sufficient reason to appeal a case. If a person simply does not agree with or like the decision of the court, that alone is an insufficient reason to appeal.

If the court ruled against the plaintiff on an issue, which had an effect on the overall outcome of the case, then the legal issue may be appealed.

Appeals are rare in civil litigation. While there may be legal issues that arise, they may not be enough to afford either party an opportunity to appeal.

An appeal can be a lengthy process. The deadline to file an appeal is relatively quickly after a final determination on the merits is made at the trial level. If the appeal is lost, the trial court’s decision will stand.

Impact on Damages

Generally, an appeal is not filed solely for the purposes of damages. If an appeal is filed, the appellate court finds an error, and the case is remanded for a new trial, then there may be a different award by the jury.

The appeals court does not award or reverse damage awards. The appellate court simply reviews the trial court’s decision on the legal issues and either confirms the trial court’s decision or remands it for a new trial.

Benefit of an Attorney

An attorney that is experienced in collection matters can advise a catastrophically injured person on the available options to collect on their damages after a catastrophic injury case in DC.