What Property Can Be Seized in a Judgment in Washington?

If a person receives a judgment against them because they have lost an injury claim made by another party, then they may find some of their property can be taken from them in order to pay the judgment. However, just because a person receives a judgment against them from the court does not mean that all of their property is up for grabs. Here, we want to discuss the types of property that can and cannot be seized as a result of a judgment in Washington.

What Can Be Seized?

In the event a person is on the losing end of a personal injury lawsuit or any other type of judgment where a court order allows for the seizure of property, it is very important to know what type of property can be seized.

It is essential to point out that the seizure of property will not occur if the defendant is able to pay the judgment outright by writing a check or wiring money to the plaintiff in the case. However, sometimes judgment amounts are so high that individuals cannot cover the expenses without liquidating their assets or having their assets seized. Essentially, the judgment could put a person in debt to the plaintiff, and the plaintiff becomes a creditor.

Assets and properties can mean physical property as well as other forms of personal property. Additionally, the definition of property can also include things that a person does not own or control, and it could also include future assets or properties that may come as an inheritance.

Some of the main types of property that can be seized include the following:

  • Checking and savings accounts
  • Investment accounts
  • Inheritances
  • Personal homes (though there may be limitations on the homestead)
  • Rental and investment properties
  • Vehicles
  • Business properties and equipment
  • A portion of wages
  • Assets transferred to another person
  • Assets owned by a spouse
  • Jewelry and collectibles
  • Artwork

What Property Cannot Be Seized?

There are some assets that are protected from seizure in Washington. In general, it will not be possible for a creditor to take a person’s primary residence. Additionally, there are other types of income that are usually exempt from seizure in these circumstances. This includes:

  • Social Security disability and retirement benefits
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits 
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Veteran’s administration benefits
  • Federal student loans
  • Money you receive as child support
  • Most pension plans
  • Certain limitations on money in your bank account

Work With an Attorney 

Regardless of what side you fall on when it comes to a personal injury claim, it is crucial to have an attorney by your side. If you have been injured due to the negligent actions of another individual, you need a lawyer by your side to stand up for your rights and recover compensation on your behalf. If you are a defendant in a personal injury claim, you also certainly need an attorney by your side to ensure that your matter is handled fairly.

Properly understanding judgments for a personal injury claim can be challenging, and a Seattle personal injury attorney will walk you through this process to ensure that you understand what is happening at every step along the way.