An Overview of § 1771 under the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL)

Section 1771, "Court reports on nonpayment of judgments" details the obligation of judgment creditors, in case of the defendant's nonpayment of motor vehicle-related judgments within 60 days, and the department's responsibilities concerning non-resident defendants.

Statutory Text

§ 1771. Court reports on nonpayment of judgments.

(a) General rule.--Whenever any person fails within 60 days to satisfy any judgment arising from a motor vehicle accident, the judgment creditor may forward to the department a certified copy of the judgment.

(b) Notice to state of nonresident defendant.--If the defendant named in any certified copy of a judgment reported to the department is a nonresident, the department shall transmit a certified copy of the judgment to the official in charge of the issuance of licenses and registration certificates of the state of which the defendant is a resident.

Key Term Definitions:


A judgment here refers to the final decision made by the court, pertaining to a motor vehicle accident, which specifies the financial obligations of the defendant.

Judgment Creditor:

This term signifies a person or entity to whom the payment of the judgment is due.


This refers to the administrative body overseeing motor vehicle matters, often the Department of Motor Vehicles or similar entity.

Relevance for Pennsylvania Drivers:

This section is important for Pennsylvania drivers as it imposes the duty of satisfying a court decision arising from a motor vehicle accident in a strict 60 day timeframe. Non-compliance might result in interactions with the department, which could lead to consequences like license suspension.

Relevance for Pennsylvania Attorneys:

For attorneys practicing in Pittsburgh and throughout Pennsylvania, understanding this section is crucial as it involves advising clients on their obligations and potential repercussions following unsatisfied judgments. Accurate understanding and interpretation of this legislation could help attorneys in protecting their clients' rights and mitigating the negative outcomes of unsatisfied judgments.

Detailed Language Analysis:

The language of this section is clear in its directives, showing the MVFRL prioritizes timely payment of motor vehicle accident judgments. The use of 'any person' calls for a broad application, encompassing all drivers involved in motor vehicle accidents, regardless of residency status. '60 days' specifies a deadline and the consequence - reporting the non-payment to 'the department'- guides judgment creditors on the next step, should the debtor fail to comply.

The term 'certified copy of the judgment' calls for the document's veracity. It necessitates a credible report indicating the existence and specifics of the unsatisfied judgment and paints a clear path for judgment creditors to follow when faced with nonpayment.

The latter part of the legislation addresses non-residents specifically ensuring their home state is notified of non-payment. This aids in enforcing the judgment in their state of residence, signifying an inter-state compliance effort in motor vehicle accident-related verdicts' enforcement.

The section provides a clear process oriented framework to handle non-payment of judgments arising from motor vehicle regulations, ensuring a well-knit system for enforcing lawful conduct on the roads of Pennsylvania.

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Von Wooding

Von Wooding

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