testIf used properly and if conducted by a reputable asset search company, asset searches can be used as a valuable tool in both pre and post litigation. Often is the case when a personal injury attorney has a client with severe injuries and an insurance policy with inadequate coverage. The question then becomes whether to settle a case for the policy limits or seek additional assets to satisfy a judgment. Moreover, what duty does the attorney have to his client to inform them that  they may  be  entitled  to more  than  just  the  insurance  coverage?  Also, what  happens  to  the attorney  who  fails  to  inform  the  client  that  they  could  have  conducted  an  asset  search  to uncover assets to attach and possibly satisfy a judgment to make the client whole?

Most asset searches cost  less  than $300.00. At Asset Searches Plus, Inc.,  for example, a nationwide asset  search  costs $185.00  for  an  individual  subject and  $165.00  for  a  corporate entity. At  the very  least, shouldn’t  the client be given  the opportunity  to pay  for and conduct a search  just  in case  there are additional assets associated with  the subject or  the defendant?  If the client refuses, the attorney is protected. If the client agrees to conduct the search, then the attorney has satisfied their “due diligence” by conducting a nationwide asset search, which may very well  reveal additional assets  that can be attached.  In addition, where  the subject may be concealing  assets,  such  as  through  family  trusts,  partnerships  or  the  like,  the  asset  search report will provide a road map for the attorney.

A thorough asset search also provides any liabilities associated with the subject, such as, other lawsuits, bankruptcies, state and  federal  tax  liens and uniform commercial code  filings. These searches usually take 1-3 days to conduct. Detailed reports are then emailed to the attorney to share with their client. Upon receipt, an informed decision can be made by counsel with how to proceed with the case. Remember, “if there is nothing to obtain, there is nothing to gain.” If after reviewing  the  asset  search  report,  it  can  be  reasonably  established  that  the  subject  of  the lawsuit has nothing of value, then the case is probably not worth pursuing and you can settle the matter based on the policy limits, thereby preventing even greater losses by not spending more money on an investment that is not collectible.

Under most circumstances, asset searches verify the following:
(a) The subject’s name and address;
(b) Driver’s license information;
(c)  Real estate;
(d) Motor vehicles;
(e) Watercrafts;
(f)  FAA certifications and aircrafts;
(g) Professional licenses;
(h) Bankruptcies;
(i)  Liens and judgments;
(j)  UCC filings;
(k)  Corporate entities associated with the subject;
(l)  Voter registration information;
(m) Sexual offenses;
(n) Employment information; and
(o) State and federal criminal records.

The only information that is usually needed from the attorney or client is the subject’s name and last known address, which can be filled out online or on an order form, which can be faxed and mailed to your office.

Finally, when choosing an asset search firm, make sure to ask the following questions:

1.)  Does the firm have attorneys on staff that understand why you need the information and generate reports that are most useful for the personal injury attorney and their client?
2.)  Do they only use “legal” and reliable sources and methods to conduct their searches?
3.)  Does the firm stand behind the quality of their work?
4.)  Does all work remain confidential?
5.)  Does  the  firm provide a professional  looking  report  that you will be eager  to share with your client?

For additional information, please contact us at 1(800)290-1012, or at info@assetsearchesplus.com or www.assetsearchesplus.com.