How do I get my small claims victory? 15 Answers as of June 08, 2015

A judge ruled in my favor in small claims. I got a good amount of money. It has been a long time and the other person has disappeared. How can I collect my money? Can I actually use a lawyer for this?

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Lawrence Lewis
Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
Winning and collecting money are two different things.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 6/8/2015
Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
There are many things that can be done to enforce a judgment. Yes, a lawyer can help, but because of the small amount not many lawyers will be interested, I fear.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/5/2015
Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
You can use a lawyer to assist in collecting on your judgment. Collection agencies can also assist you.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/5/2015
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
Once you get your judgment in small claims court, you must get it transferred to district or superior court. From there you can garnish his wages and his bank accounts. The court does not do that. You have to. It could be difficult, especially if the person has "disappeared". Sounds like a dead beat.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/5/2015
Walpole Law | Robert J. Walpole
Sorry. If the person can not be found, there is nothing you can do until he can be found. Then you can use legal collection methods such as garnishment. You can do that without a lawyer as most of the forms are provided by the court clerk. Any money spent on court costs, etc., possibly even using a private investigator to attempt to find this person, are recoverable. Please note that in Oklahoma if a garnishment isn't filed or a statement of judgment which requires a court cost is not filed within 5 years of the judgment the judgment lapses. There are forms for this, too. That way you can keep a judgment alive virtually forever. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
Replied: 6/5/2015
    Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
    When a judge or a jury make an award, that is called a verdict. You must then have the verdict entered onto a written document called a judgment, which is then signed by the judge and entered in court. After the statutory appeal period passes, the judgment is final. You serve a copy of the judgment on the defendant and file a proof of service. If nothing happens before the appeal period passes, then you have to turn that piece of paper into money. You do that by grabbing assets of the defendant. To do that, you serve a Judgement Creditor's subpoena on the debtor, compelling him/her to appear and testify as to assets, bank accounts, property, etc. You then garnish or attach those assets. If you cannot do that yourself, then you need to hire a collection attorney. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/5/2015
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
    Yes; get an experience collection lawyer. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/5/2015
    Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
    You certainly can use a lawyer to collect a judgment. There are some lawyers whose major work is collections. You can find one by calling the referral service of your State Bar, or checking online (e.g., or even the yellow pages. Good Luck.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 6/5/2015
    Law Office of Lisa Hurtado McDonnell | Lisa Hurtado McDonnell
    Yes you can.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 6/5/2015
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    Have the verdict converted into a Final Judgment which you should record in the county of the residence of the defendant, or just hire a good collections lawyer to take care of that for you.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/5/2015
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    First, you have to file a judgment. I also recommend filing a transcript of the judgment in the county where the small claims action took place. From there, maybe you could hire a "skip trace" firm to track him down.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/5/2015
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    you can use a lawyer to help you find the other person and locate assets to attack
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/5/2015
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Sounds like you will need a lawyer to collect the judgement.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/5/2015
    Law Offices of Robert Burns
    Law Offices of Robert Burns | Robert Burns
    You can use a lawyer to collect. You need to find assets, e.g., earnings, bank accounts, real property against which to lien/levy. A private investigator and your debtor's enemies and Court cases can help you in that regard.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/5/2015
    Gregory M Janks, PC
    Gregory M Janks, PC | Gregory M Janks
    You need to hire an asset search investigator or company to try and locate the defendant and the defendants assets. Or you can hire a collection attorney to have this done. If you find assets, you can "attach" them due to your Judgment. You can do this yourself, or through counsel, by getting a court order allowing you to seize or sell the assets you find to satisfy your Judgment.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/5/2015
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