If someone takes you to court in a personal injury lawsuit, it is essential that you properly defend yourself. Insurance will typically cover part of any damages for which the court finds you liable, but it rarely will ever be enough to pay for it all.

Forbes explains that once the insurance company pays the maximum amount of your coverage, you are responsible for the balance.

Seizure of assets

If you do not have the money to pay, the court can seize your assets. This might include your home, vehicle and bank accounts. If the court believes it has a value that when sold would result in considerable money, then it can take that asset. It may also order a garnishment of your bank accounts, which is where money comes out automatically from your account.


There are exemptions of assets the court cannot touch. Generally, the law assigns a value amount to assets and allows you to retain them if they do not exceed that amount. You should note that these values are often low.

For example, Florida allows a $1,000 exemption for a vehicle. If your vehicle is worth $1,000 or less, then you can keep it. If it is worth more, the court can seize it. To figure the value, you will usually take the fair market value and subtract any liens on the vehicle. So, if your vehicle is worth $6,000 at fair market value, but you owe a lender $5,000 for the loan on it, then your vehicle has a $1,000 value.


About the Author

Pam Olsen Personal Injury Attorney

Ms. Olsen has practiced law since 1992. During her law school education and throughout career she knew, if it is not about people, she is not interested. Everything about people interests Ms. Olsen from the simple details of living to the most profound. She began her law career in a skyscraper in downtown Miami representing corporate interests. Within a VERY short time, Pam knew that side of the things in the world was not for her.

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