Legal Question in Personal Injury in New York

I am involved in a lawsuit against a home owner whose property I got hurt on, The home owner defaulted by failing to answer, My current attorney (through a Para) is telling me that they will not go after the home owner even though the home is now for sale. Do I have further recourse?

Asked on 5/26/11, 1:10 pm

5 Answers from Attorneys

David Slater David P. Slater, Esq.

Yes, hire a new attorney.

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Answered on 5/26/11, 1:17 pm
Gelena Alexandrovskaya Kaplan & Alexandrovskaya, LLC

Your (or your attorney) may make a motion for a default judgment against the homeowner. A default judgment docketed in the county clerk's office (where the homeowner's property is located) would serve as an automatic lien against the homeowner's real property and would impair the homeowner's ability to sell it.

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Answered on 5/26/11, 1:20 pm
Gelena Alexandrovskaya Kaplan & Alexandrovskaya, LLC

In addition, it sounds like your attorney was expecting the homeowner's insurance company (with a "deep pocket") to step in to defend the lawsuit on the homeowner's behalf, and with the homeowner having defaulted, the insurance company is unlikely to defend. However, with the option I suggested previously, at least it will give you a leverage to settle the case directly with the homeowner (although perhaps on less favorable terms than with the insurance company).

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Answered on 5/26/11, 1:29 pm

Your lawyer has to obtain a default judgment against the homeowner.

Next, he has to proceed to inquest (a hearing before a judge) and demand money damages for your injuries. If the judge deems your case and injuries have merit, he will provide you with a money judgment which you have to file with the County Clerk and try to collect against the homeowner.

Your lawyer may request that you forward all the costs and disbursements of obtaining and recording the judgment (except attorney's fees), which under the circumstances is not unreasonable.

You may also have to do a credit check on the homeowner to make sure he is not otherwise judgment-proof. You may circumvent all the above steps, if your attorney enters in to direct negotiation with the homeowner to obtain money damages for you, however small.

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Answered on 5/26/11, 4:07 pm
Michael E. Zuller Zuller Law Offices

A default judgment can be taken, entered in the clerk's office, and used to halt, or at least delay, the sale. Best, MEZ

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Answered on 6/03/11, 1:22 pm

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