Personal Injury Lawyers Beware: Business Owners May Be Tempted to Hide Assets in a Downturn
What if the business where your client sustained their injuries is hiding assets to make it look like they cannot compensate your client? During an economic downturn it is not far-fetched to imagine that some individuals and businesses will be guarding their assets more closely.
If your client does not have adequate insurance cover and has sustained serious injuries, they need to find a way to pay for their medical bills and compensate for lost wages. As a personal injury attorney, it is your duty to advise your client on the best strategy to recover damages.
As an attorney, you should not take the information you receive from a business or individual at face value. In order to fulfill your due diligence, you should conduct an asset search on the business where your client may have suffered a slip and fall or other injury.
There are many ways people who own a privately held business can conceal assets, such as through family trusts, by transferring assets to business partners or family members, or even by buying real estate. The rising costs associated with inflation, including higher wages, higher costs passed on through the supply chain, and higher interest rates on business loans could tempt some business owners to be less than honest about their assets. It might seem like “no big deal” for a business owner to simply transfer assets to a family member. For your client, however, the consequences are serious. If your client has reached their policy limits or their insurance cover is inadequate, they may have nowhere else to turn to cover the rising costs of their medical bills.
An asset search can cost as little as $185 and can turn around in a few days. It can identify real estate, recent deed transfers, trusts, limited partnerships, and corporations. It can also locate title to boats, automobiles, planes, and intellectual property such as trademarks, patents, and professional licenses. As well as assets, it can also locate debts such as federal and state tax liens, debts, and judgements against a person.
An asset search can also locate other information about a person, such as relatives associated with a person who could be holding assets associated with that person. An asset search can reveal jointly held assets. It can also reveal the correct and verified address and phone number of a subject and information about the subject’s employer, family, and neighbors, and whether they are the director of a publicly traded company.
When a client is severely injured, they need detailed information to help them make critical decisions that impact their future. It does not help your client to move forward with a personal injury case where there is “nothing to obtain and nothing to gain.” On the other hand, if a business does not appear to have any assets, it is important to maintain a healthy level of skepticism and dive deeper to verify the balance sheet.
To order your asset search, contact us by phone (800) 290-1012 ext. 111 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our attorneys can help you determine what type of search is best suited for your case and interpret the results on your behalf if necessary.