Should Companies Prepare for a Civil Case That Never Comes?

Should Companies Prepare for a Civil Case That Never Comes

Preparation is a normal part of life. People prepare for retirement by putting away financial resources. Parents prepare for a new baby by getting the nursery ready. We are so used to preparing for things that we don’t even think about doing so. We just do it. So why do business owners fail to get ready for a potential lawsuit that could be coming down the road?

Being that Judgment Collectors specializes in collecting unpaid judgments, the remainder of this post will focus on civil lawsuits. These are lawsuits that result in the very judgments we are hired to collect. It is our firm belief that companies should be prepared for such cases even if there are no pending lawsuits on the horizon.

The Legal Process Is Complicated

Civil cases are tried in court the same as criminal cases. Yet what many business owners do not understand is that the legal process is complicated. It is as complicated in civil court as it is in criminal court. Civil court isn’t necessarily easier to navigate merely because criminal charges have not been filed.

Long before a company ever gets to the point of a judgment being entered in its favor, a long and complicated legal process must be followed – to the letter. For example, a company might file a lawsuit in county court. Then the company and its attorney must wait between 20-30 days (depending on the state) for the defendant to respond before moving forward.

There are all sorts of deadlines and waiting periods that come with civil litigation. It is not straightforward by any means. Unfortunately, far too many companies are inadequately prepared the first time they file a civil lawsuit. Then they need to play catch-up.

4 Things Companies Can Do

There is no way to cover every base and prepare for every possible contingency prior to filing a lawsuit. But there are some basic things every company can do. Even if a company never files a civil lawsuit, taking the steps necessary to prepare for one still makes the business better.

Here are four things every company can do:

  1. Regular Correspondence – Every company can and should maintain regular correspondence with customers. This is especially true when it comes to billing. Inconsistent bills and regular reminders are vital.
  2. Consistent Invoicing – Hand-in-hand with regular correspondence is consistent invoicing. Why? Because a defendant could claim not having received a bill from the company for years. If they can prove that claim, they might have a strong enough case to win.
  3. Collection Flexibility – One of the best ways to avoid civil litigation is to be flexible with collection. It’s better to work with a customer who is struggling to pay than to go straight to court.
  4. Legal Education – Every business owner should make a point of getting some education in civil litigation. Whether that means attending a course or self-educating, business owners need to know just how much is involved in filing a lawsuit.

In relation to that final point, it is also a good idea to learn about what happens after the court case. Assuming a company wins its case, the next task is to begin the enforcement process. It’s almost never as easy as leaving the courtroom and being handed a check. If it were that easy, judgment collection agencies like ours wouldn’t exist.

Here’s hoping your company never finds itself involved in civil litigation. But knowing it’s always a possibility, it is a wise idea for company ownership and management to start preparing now. Better to be prepared and never go to court than to find yourself in court unprepared.