Why the Terms ‘Judgment Creditor’ and ‘Judgment Debtor’?

Our blog posts are riddled with the terms ‘judgment creditor’ and ‘judgment debtor’. They are terms familiar to anyone in our business. They are also terms that attorneys and their clerks understand. As for judgment creditors themselves, they may not know the terms or why we use them.

The confusion stems from the fact that civil judgments are rendered as a result of litigation. When a lawsuit is first filed, the party responsible for filing is the plaintiff while the person being sued is the defendant. We understand that the plaintiff is the party making the accusation. The defendant is the one defending against it.

What Monetary Awards Involve

Judgments can include different types of awards. As for monetary awards, they depend on the type of suit that was filed, who filed it, and who ultimately won the case. Here are several examples to illustrate:

  • Personal Injury – In a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff is suing for damages after suffering an accident believed to be the fault of another party. Courts can award compensatory and punitive damages of rather sizable amounts.
  • Debt Collection – A debt collection case usually involves an award that includes both the original amount owed plus any additional penalties, fees, and collection costs.
  • Regulatory Litigation – In a civil lawsuit involving regulatory compliance, a state or federal agency is attempting to bring the defendant into compliance with the law. Monetary awards are usually punitive in nature.

In all three cases, the losing parties are often forced to pay the winning party’s legal fees. That means a combination of court costs and attorney’s fees. Those amounts are rolled into the total the losing party is compelled to pay.

Collecting As a Creditor

The terms ‘judgment creditor’ and ‘judgment debtor’ illustrate one of the least talked about aspects of civil litigation: the fact that winning a civil lawsuit doesn’t necessarily settle the issue once and for all. Winning a judgment may settle the question of liability, but it opens the door to a whole new process known as collection.

A party filing a civil lawsuit may have never been involved in debt collection before. But once that gavel falls, everything changes. A winning plaintiff suddenly becomes a judgment creditor whose number one priority is getting paid. How payment is procured depends on the circumstances of the case.

Getting Paid Can Be Challenging

What many judgment creditors find out too late is that getting paid can be challenging. Getting paid is often more difficult than winning an actual lawsuit. Perhaps that is why so many judgment creditors would rather turn their judgments over to an attorney or collection agency.

Judgment Collectors is proud to be one of the collection agencies judgment creditors turn to. We are based in Utah, but we also collect judgments in Missouri, Michigan, California, and a few other states.

If you suddenly find yourself in the position of being a judgment creditor, you have a big job in your hands. We can help by doing it for you. Judgment Collectors has years of experience and a dedicated team ready to get to work. If you would like to know more, contact us at your earliest convenience.