There may be quite a bit of satisfaction in winning a civil lawsuit and the ensuing financial judgment. Yet the vast majority of judgments entered in U.S. courts are never collected. There are numerous reasons for this, beginning with the fact that successful plaintiffs don’t know how to collect when the time comes.
A typical plaintiff is a company that has sued one of its customers. But plaintiffs could just as easily be individuals suing companies, nonprofits, or even their neighbors. All have one thing in common: their judgments are likely to go uncollected if they are not prepared to do whatever it takes to get paid.
In light of all this, here are the top five tips for avoiding uncollected judgments, compliments of Judgment Collectors out of Salt Lake City, Utah:
Tip #1: Bring in a Hired Gun
The best and most important tip is to bring in a hired gun. You more or less have three choices: a specialized collection agency, a general collection agency, or your attorney.
Judgment Collectors is a specialized agency that does nothing but judgments. Focusing only on judgments allows them to leverage all their resources to succeed in this one area. As for general collection agencies and attorneys, they can still do the job. The question is whether they can do it as effectively as an agency like Judgment Collectors.
Tip #2: Become an Expert in the Law
If you are not inclined to hire a collection agency or attorney, then the next most important thing you can do is become an expert in the law. Each state regulates judgments and collections as they see fit. What is legally allowed in one state may not be allowed in another.
Not knowing the law puts you at a disadvantage. How can you pursue deadbeats if you don’t know what your legal options are? You cannot. So study up well before your case ever goes to trial.
Tip #3: Stay on Top of Things
Your chances of successfully collecting increase commensurate with how well you stay on top of things. Do not let anything go. If the creditor promises to have a list of assets to you within five business days, make sure you are on the phone on that fifth day, inquiring as to why you don’t have the list yet. If you do not stay on top of things, the creditor might try to play the waiting game with you.
Tip #4: Always Be Skeptical
Do yourself a favor and plan on the creditor and his legal representatives (where applicable) not being straightforward with you. The fact that you even had to go to court demonstrates that the debtor’s integrity is questionable. Be skeptical of everything he tells you. Do not be quick to believe what could turn out to be empty promises.
Tip #5: Use Every Legal Tool
Judgment Collectors says that many creditors fail because they don’t use every legal tool available to them. They try one tool. If it fails, they move on to the next. Several failures in succession can lead to frustration and eventually giving up. Don’t do it. Use every tool you have access to simultaneously. Hit the debtor from every possible angle and your chances of getting paid go up dramatically.
Here is one last bit of advice: debtors who have faced collection before are likely to have learned from past mistakes. They know how to make it difficult on creditors to collect. If you are going to try to collect on your own, be prepared to work hard for it. You are in for a fight.