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Hello Justin

I will be taking both a woman and her daughter-in-law as defendants to small claims court in the future.I am expecting to win a judgement from at least the daughter-in-law for hitting my rear bumper while driving her mother-in-law's car which was uninsured at the time of the accident. A local attorney mentioned I could also file against the girl's mother for negligence from not having an insured vehicle, so unless you think that would be a bad decision to do so I'll pursue the mother in small claims too.

A General Sessions Court clerk told me winning a judgment is easier than getting your money sometimes. He mentioned getting a form(s) from the court and submitting it to various local banks in my city in hopes to locate the defendant(s) bank account(s) to garnish. That seems sort of like hunting for Easter Eggs, especially in a city the size of Nashville, Tennessee. It seems like there should exist more efficient and faster methods to search for a defendant's bank account(s) and other assets to garnish if I should win this small claims judgement.

Thank you for any direction in this matter.  

Mike E.

Answer
Mike, you should look into the Tennessee Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law.  Unfortunately, outside of getting the defendant's to provide you with the information you seek via some discovery (which doesn't always work), there is no way to gain someone's bank account information without using old school investigation, like having somebody send them a $10 check and when it is deposited, you'll know the bank AND account information.  

Outside of those types of techniques, the best option to persuade payment is to take judgment against the driver, and then use the financial responsibility law to request the State suspend her license and registration for noncompliance (not being able to pay for auto accident damages).  

As for the mother, you will have to prove that she was negligent by entrusting the vehicle to the driver.  If she knew, or should have known that the driver was not qualified to drive, or that she had a history of recklessness, or some other reason that she should have not been driving (drug abuser, etc.), then, and only then can you get the owner.  Otherwise, the owner did nothing wrong by letting someone use the vehicle.

As far as bank garnishment, it is as easy as suing the back (using a writ of garnishment), but you have to know the bank information, and you risk that there is nothing in the account.  Once you have the account, you can call to verify funds before you serve the garnishment suit on the bank.  Trust me, although the clerk is right about it not being super simple to collect on a judgment, the clerk has no clue.  Never trust a court clerk.  Take it from my experience.   

If you need further information, look me up.  Petty Details, LLC.  I hope this helps.

Regards,
Justin Petty  

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Justin Petty

Expertise

Challenge me! I promise that I will provide you with the most honest answer I can muster, and I will base it on nearly 20 years of complex claims experience. My strength is shooting it straight and seeing through BS. I do not bluff and I can tell when somebody is. I've handled claims in almost every State in the U.S. and adjusted claims and consulted attorneys and CEO's on recovery and special claims tactics for over a decade. I am the founder and President of Petty Details, LLC. We provide the highest quality claim services to insurance companies, attorneys and individuals all exactly in the same way, by paying attention to the details and doing the right thing.

Experience

Nearly 20 years of combined claim company management, litigation, all lines adjusting, claim auditing, damage assessment, subrogation, small claims, tort recovery, collection, skip-tracing, tactical investigations, and contribution claim recovery experience across the United States of America.

Organizations
NASP (National Association of Subrogation Professionals) AllExperts.com (Auto Insurance Expert) Diminished Value Appraisers Group (LinkedIn)

Publications
10 years experience in writing and developing technical claims correspondence for litigation and unique scenarios at insurance companies and as a consultant to attorneys assisting with legal briefs and research. 42 published articles relating to auto insurance and claims. Self Published e-books entitled "How Much is My Injury Worth" and "Diminished Value - How Do I Get Paid?".

Education/Credentials
School of hard knocks, 3 years college, NO DEGREE, years of real world experience running a claims service company and adjusting claims for carriers. Speaks English and Spanish, Limited Portuguese & Italian.

Awards and Honors
Platinum Author (EzineArticles.com) All Lines Adjuster (TX, 1998 - 2008) TX Public Adjuster (2009 - 2011)

Past/Present Clients
State Farm Insurance, Endeavor GA, MileMeter Ins., American Recreational Markets, Gainsco Ins. Co., Safeway Ins., Home State County Mutual Insurance, Old American County Mutual Insurance, FCCI, Farm Bureau, Liberty Mutual, and Pronto General Agency, LTD just to name a few! On top of insurance companies and attorneys, I have personally helped thousands of accident victims with the difficult and stressful process of navigating their claim to a successful resolution.

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