Civil court is often the only way to get satisfaction when a customer doesn’t pay. It might be the only way to deal with a company or organization that harms you. Perhaps you are in that position now. You are getting ready to file a lawsuit. Let’s say you end up winning. Then what? How do you go about enforcing a winning judgment?
For practical purposes, enforcing a judgment means getting paid. As the winner, you are owed a certain amount of money. Now you must collect that money. If it’s a substantial amount, judgment collection might not be as easy as you think. So before you do anything, we recommend you ask yourself the following five questions:
1. Am I prepared for a long fight?
You might luck out in the sense that the debtor decides to cooperate with your enforcement efforts. Maybe you will leave that courtroom, proceed to interrogatories, and successfully set up a payment plan with the debtor. Then again, perhaps your experience will be just the opposite.
You could be in this thing for a while; it could take years to collect. Are you prepared for a potentially long fight? If not, you might want to consider bringing in a judgment collection agency.
2. Do I have the resources to go full force?
The best way to avoid a long and protracted fight is to go full force from the very start. Do you have the resources to do that? Going after debtors hard requires people who know how to do it. It requires financial resources. It even requires the ability to dig around in search of debtor assets. Success rarely comes easily.
3. Do I know what my limits are?
Civil judgment enforcement is governed by rules, regulations, and procedures. As the creditor, you have a legal right to pursue payment. You don’t have a legal right to do whatever you want along the way. So, do you know your limitations? Do you know what the law does and does not allow you to do?
The law can actually be a debtor’s friend if you don’t proceed cautiously and appropriately. You need to do things by the book, or you risk never seeing a dime.
4. Is my attorney the best choice for collection?
Perhaps you already know how difficult it is to collect judgments. You know you have neither the time nor the resources to handle it yourself. Instead, you want to turn collection over to your attorney. But is that the best move?
Kudos to you for recognizing that you are not in the best position to pursue collection. But your attorney might not be, either. What you need to know is how much time and effort your attorney can put into it. You need to know how your attorney will charge you. Most importantly, you need to know how much experience your attorney has in this sort of thing. Not all attorneys know how to successfully collect outstanding judgments.
5. How much risk do I want to assume?
Finally, you may have to assume some financial risk by turning your judgment over to a collection agency. But if you choose an agency that works on consignment, like Judgment Collectors, your financial risk is minimal. Once we take over, you incur no further expenses.
It has been said that winning a judgment is often easier than actually collecting it. We can’t disagree. So if you’re planning to file a lawsuit in civil court, don’t go in without a plan. Start thinking now about what you will do in the event you win.