Unsatisfied Judgment Law and Legal Definition

An unsatisfied judgment is one which has not been paid or performed by the person against whom the judgment was rendered. Some states have established laws to reimburse those injured in auto accidents that have been unable to collect from the responsible party.

A judgment lien may also be obtained according to state laws, which vary by state. A judgment lien is created when a court grants a creditor an interest in the debtor's property, based upon a court judgment. A plaintiff who obtains a monetary judgment is termed a "judgment creditor." The defendant becomes a "judgment debtor."

Judgment liens may be created through a wide variety of circumstances. For example, if a person negligently injures someone in an accident, the injured person is likely to sue for damages. If the insurance doesn't cover the judgment, a judgment lien may be placed against the negligent person's property to secure payment of the claim to the injured party.

If the debt is not paid, the judgment creditor can then seek to enforce the judgment by garnishing wages, seizing a bank account, or placing a lien against the debtor's property. After the judgment creditor places a lien upon the attached property, the next step in the collection process is to conduct a sale of the attached property to satisfy the judgment debt. If a lien were placed on a home, the judgment creditor would then seek to foreclose on the property, in the same way a mortgage holder such as a bank would foreclose if it were not paid.