Why Conducting an Asset Search is Critical in any Personal Injury Case.
There is never a perfect personal injury case. Sometimes you have clear liability and a serious and well documented injury, but limited or minimal insurance coverage. It’s like playing the slots in Vegas, you get two but not the three lemons needed win. If that is the case, every personal injury attorney has an obligation to seek the additional assets of the tortfeasor that may be available to “reach and apply” in addition to the inadequate insurance. If an attorney ignores this obligation and the client later finds out that they could have received additional compensation, then the attorney and their firm have opened themselves up to potential and probable litigation.
Most asset searches cost less than $ 200.00. So, at the very least, the attorney should recommend to the client that a search be conducted. If the client says no, then the attorney is covered. If the client says yes, then you may hit a home run and uncover additional assets that can be attached, thereby increasing the client’s recovery and the attorney’s fee. This request should be on the check list of every personal insurance case and be conducted routinely by the attorney or their paralegal.
Asset searches can also let you know who else the tortfeasor resides with and who else owns a vehicle in the tortfeasor’ s home, which may in turn, provide other insurance policies and additional coverage that may be available to your client. Moreover, the asset search usually provides the most current and accurate address of the tortfeasor for initial contact or service of process. The asset search will also provide driver’s license and motor vehicle ownership information as well as any corporate entities that the subject may be associated with that may have an interest in the ownership of the vehicle or coverage.
Some asset searches even provide driving records in some states and civil violations which may help your case.
For additional information on how to conduct an asset search and what is included in an asset search, please click here to download an eBook on conducting an asset search.
Edward L. Amaral, Jr.