If you or your loved one has been awarded a civil judgment in New Jersey, you should know the financial consequences. In New Jersey, civil judgments are recorded as liens on land, and the debtor must pay the debt before the property can be sold. A judgment creditor can also levy personal property and bank accounts, and may even garnish wages, or require an employee to pay a portion of his or her salary directly to the judgment creditor.
In New Jersey, defendants who make pro-rata offers to settle are barred from recovering fees and costs. Even if their combined offers exceed 80% of the verdict, recovery is barred. Furthermore, if multiple defendants are involved in a lawsuit, a group offer of judgment is required. Co-defendants who refuse to negotiate can’t participate in a group offer of judgment.
A judgment debtor can also file for bankruptcy, which may result in the loss of collection rights. In this case, the creditor will need to hire a collection attorney to collect the judgment. These attorneys will charge an hourly rate, or they will charge a percentage of the amount collected. Once the judgment debtor is bankrupt, their ability to collect money is lost.
In cases where an offer of judgment is made, the offering party can also be responsible for sanctions, such as court costs, prejudgment interest, and attorneys’ fees. This option is not recommended unless the offeror is a non-claimant or has a strong case. A favorable judgment, on the other hand, would result in a higher judgment for the plaintiff.