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Consumer Rights/Locating Bank Accounts And Assets To Garnish If I Win Judgement


Hello Rob,

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. I fear hiring private investigators to do so would be more than the cost of my bumper repair.

Thank you for any direction in this matter.  

Mike E.

Hi Mike,

It seams like an awful lot of work to go to for damage to a rear bumper. What is the value of the claim? Judgments are great except I don't know of many that have successfully collected.

Now, you say there was no insurance on the car. OK, the mother in la can be ticketed for that. It may be hard proving negligence though unless she admits she gave her the keys to drive the car at the time of the event.
Commonly, from my experience, if they don't have insurance on the car, they don't have any money. They may be on Social Security disability and a judgement cannot touch that money. In essence, people like this can be sued all day, but are uncollectable.
That is also why people like this have warrants, because they don't pay tickets or fines.
Before going to all this work, you better take that fact into consideration.

You are correct about the Easter egg hunt. I don't know the details, but these on disability do not even have checking accounts anymore.
People without insurance are a real nuisance, and the courts may make money on the deal if they can collect a fine, but it does not help any of us responsible people. No one takes their car, so they do it again. The system is broken!
As I said, if the mother in law does not have insurance, she most likely has no money to pay if you go after her for negligence.
In Texas, the stats say 25% of the drivers are not insured. That is millions of people!

If this claim is under $500, I do not even see why you are going to this wasted effort. I do wish you luck though!
What I would do though is let the judge know that the vehicle is uninsured, and possibly you can get them to send this idiot a ticket just as a payback feature.  

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Rob Painter


I am not an attorney, nor can I give legal advice. I can however answer questions related to stolen vehicles when the insured is denied payment due to misrepresentation. My goal is to sort through all the puported facts in order to determine the truth as to how the vehicle was last operated. I work for insurance companies and against them when their "Forensic Expert" did not do his job in an unbiased manner. Commonly these theft insurance denials are based on the information supplied in the "forensic" report on the vehicle. In most cases conclusions inferring the insured's key (proper key)was used last, based on net opinion with no basis. I scrutinize these reports as to what theories were or were not ruled out.


I have served as a consultant/expert for plaintiff & defense attorneys since 1998 in 14 different state jurisdictions as well as federal court. I was also the defense expert in a USAF court martials in which we prevailed. I do not take full credit for the prevailing side. It is a joint effort by the client attorney and my extensive knowledge on auto theft, forced entry, forensic ignition analysis, transponders, vehicle fire origin and cause etc.

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