Debt Collection Lawsuit

Debt Collection Lawsuit

Collection Attorneys Litigate Debt Collection Cases

When a debt collection law suit is filed your customer now knows this is their final chance to make payment arrangements. There are no guarantees that your company will get paid. However, the clock is now ticking for your customer. Our debt collection law firm calls your customer a debtor. Going forward we will refer to your customer as a debtor and we are pretty sure by the time you have had to sue your customer, you are also calling the customer a debtor.   There are several scenarios that may play out when a law suit is filed and we will discuss those below.

After a law suit is filed a summons is issued and either a private process server or a sheriff attempts to serve the debtor. If the debtor is served, the debtor has a certain amount of days to file a responsive pleading to the law suit. If the debtor does not respond, a default is entered by the clerk of court. After default is entered you typically be able to submit your proof of the debt to the court and request that a default judgment be entered against the debtor for the amount of the debt. The court typically will allow you to recover prejudgment interest and your court filing fees. Your reasonable legal fees will be allowed in some states only if there is a written contract or statute that allows for attorneys’ fees. Some states do not have this requirement and will also allow you to add attorneys’ fees to the judgment.

Debt Recovery Firm

Collection Law Firm

If the debtor is a corporation or limited liability company most states will not allow the debtor to represent itself. The fact that the debtor has to retain an attorney adds pressure on the debtor to settle with your company before spending money on an attorney to defend a lawsuit for payment on a debt that is justly owed to your company.   If the issue for not paying is the debtor’s cash flow, our debt recovery law firm has found that this is the time that the debtor will finally come forward with a repayment plan. Some debtors look to negotiate and will offer a percentage of the debt in a lump sum payment, other debtor will offer to pay the debt off in installments. Our clients our in the driver’s seat and can make a business decision on what payment arrangement they would be willing to accept or even to accept a payment arrangement at all. What is important for our clients to understand is that sometimes it’s best to allow for a payment plan as the debtor will voluntarily pay money. Payment plans are typically reduced to writing and filed with the court. If a debtor misses a payment, our client would be entitled to enter judgment for the full amount sought in the complaint, less any previous payments made and paid on the account by the debtor.

 

 

If the debtor does retain an attorney it may be the debtor has multiple creditors and is trying to stay afloat by filing an answer to the complaint and delaying the inevitable entry of judgment down the road   and then work out a payment plan at a later date. Other times, the debtor may have some legitimate reason for not pay some or all of the money our client claims is due. At this point in time, the claim becomes contested and like all other civil litigation cases discovery may be warranted. Each side has the right to conduct discovery, propound interrogatories, and request to produce documents and/or take depositions. The case most likely will be scheduled for mediation prior to trial. Mediation is the time in the case where the parties can set their own course and take the decision making out of the hands of the judge and jury. We encourage our clients to keep an open mind at mediation and strive to reach an amicable resolution to their debt collection case. If the case is not resolved at mediation, the case will proceed to trial.

Third Party Collection Agency

THIRD PARTY COLLECTIONS

COLLECTION AGENCY OR COLLECTION LAW FIRM

When your internal collection efforts have failed, it is time to consider turning the account over to either a collection agency or collection law firm. Your company has to consider whether they want to pursue hard or soft collections.

Soft collections is used when client relationships want to be maintained. Your customer is sent gentle demand letters and telephone calls are made to try and work with your customer to determine the root cause of the delinquency and then to try and establish creative solutions to recover your money in both an amicable and most expeditious way possible. The goal is not to alienate your customer with the hopes that once your customer’s account is brought current the business relationship can continue.

Hard collections are employed when it is apparent that your customer has no intention of or does not have the resources to pay for the services you have provided or for the goods that you have sold and delivered. The telephone calls are made and demand letters are written in a manner to make it clear to our customer that if payment arrangements are not made immediately, litigation may be started to recover your money.

Debt Collection Agency

Debt Collection Law Firm

A collection agency may be considered where balances on accounts are too small to consider filing a lawsuit. In this instance, the debt collection agency can continue to make collection calls and send letters. They can be a valuable resource for a company that has multiple small balance past due accounts. However, collection agencies have their limitations in that they are not attorneys and can only go so far in demanding payment. If litigation is required the collection agency has to outsource the account to a collection attorney and your company will end up paying a higher contingent fee as the collection agency typically charges a higher rate once an account is sent to an attorney.

 

A   debt collection law firm can perform the same debt recovery services as collection agency and more. The law firm is equipped to make telephone demands and send collection letters. The collection law firm can also utilize soft collections or hard collections as necessary. Importantly, the debt collection law firm gives your customer a stronger sense of urgency to resolve the outstanding debt. Further a collection attorney is able to file a lawsuit, levy on assets and garnish bank accounts if necessary to collect your money. A lawyer can give provide you with legal advice and opinions on the best course of action to take an alternative theories in which it may be possible to impose personal liability on officers of the company for the debt even if there are no personal guarantees on the account.