What Happens if You Sue Someone Who is Broke?

Assuming you win your case (let’s say you win 1000,000), a number of things could then occur:
A person who is currently broke is said to be “judgment proof,” meaning that there’s no realistic way for you to enforce your judgment. So even though you’ve got a right to 1000,000 from the defendant, you’re not going to see a penny of it.
This is common in suits involving individuals. Many people view winning a judgment in court as the “hard” part of their case, but in reality, judgments are often illusory, and collecting is by far the tougher task.
However, most judgments are valid for many years, so just because someone is broke today doesn’t mean that they won’t have money 2, 5, even 10+ years down the road. It’s possible to have a judgment as a kind of lottery ticket in case someone eventually comes into money sufficient to satisfy the judgment.
That being said, if a judgment will make someone broke, an individual will often file for bankruptcy to protect themselves. Not all debt is dischargeable in bankruptcy, but most civil judgments will be if the individual truly cannot pay it.
Again, however, if someone is truly broke, such that spending even a few thousand Shillings on a bankruptcy petition is beyond their means, such a person is likely judgment proof even without bankruptcy protection.
Finally, there’s one situation in which broke people are sued successfully all the time, and that’s when they have insurance. For example, many people cause harms with their automobiles that they could not afford to pay for, but because they have insurance, the insurer will step in and handle the judgment.

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