Taking the Debt Collection Case to Trial with a Collection Attorney
If the collection case has gone as far as trial, it is important to be prepared to provide the proper witnesses and be able to produce key pieces of evidence to prove your case. In collection cases to it is important to provide the witness who can testify that they are familiar with company’s books and records and that those records are usually kept in their custody and control. In other words, the sales representative for your company typically is not charged with the financial aspects of the company and someone who ordinarily would track the books and records of the company. Courts adhere to rules of evidence and may not allow a sales representative to testify as to the account statement or invoices. It is important that you speak with the collection attorney in advance to make sure your company will be able to produce the proper personnel at trial. If not, you may wish to discuss the possibility of settling your collection case prior to the court date.
It is important to tell your collection attorney about third parties who may have knowledge about the case. Those parties may be subpoenaed to appear for deposition prior to trial to ascertain their knowledge about the case and or to provide relevant documents. If necessary these same parties may be subpoenaed to appear at trial to testify.
Besides witnesses, it is important to provide your collection lawyer with all the documents surrounding the case, including, but not limited to, contracts, statements, invoices, emails or any other documentation from any third party or the debtor relating to the case. Working with your collection attorney, together you will decide which documents will be offered to the court as evidence.
During the collection trial both your company and the debtor will be able to offer witnesses and other evidence for the court to consider. After all the evidence has been presented the Court will make a decision. If all goes well a Judgment will be awarded to your company. Unfortunately, obtaining a judgment does not obligate a debtor to pay the judgment. However, using a collection law firm to enforce the judgment will be the best way to ensure that if there are assets available to satisfy the judgment either through the debtor’s voluntary payment(s) or seizing assets using writs of execution your company will recover some or all of the Judgment.