Why Defaults and Settlements End Most Debt Collection Lawsuits

Why Defaults and Settlements End Most Debt Collection Lawsuits

It is not unusual in our business to take on judgments entered as a result of default or settlement. In fact, it’s the norm. Default judgments and settlements dominate the debt collection lawsuit landscape. Furthermore, it is not accidental. There are particularly good reasons explaining this phenomenon.

Back in 2015, the National Center for State Courts released a comprehensive report outlining the state of civil litigation in America. Among its findings were the following:

  • 37% of civil lawsuits involve debt collection
  • 29% are disputes between landlords and their tenants
  • 75% of all judgment awards were for less than $5,200
  • 96% of all civil cases are settled without trial or summary judgment
  • 46% are disposed of with a default judgment
  • 33% are disposed of with a settlement agreement.

When you combine debt collection and landlord-tenant disputes, you are looking at 66% of all civil lawsuits. Just about half end with a default judgment while roughly one-third end when the two parties agree to a settlement.

When Default Judgments Are Entered

Default judgments are entered when the judgment debtor refuses to participate. A good example would be a debtor who answers the original summons he was served with but then doesn’t show up to court on the assigned date. His lack of participation makes the judgment creditor the winner by default.

Why would a debtor not show up in court? There could be any number of reasons, including a lack of resources to pay. The creditor decides not to show as he has no intention of paying what he owes anyway.

There may even be cases in which attorneys advise their clients not to show up in order to limit the total bill when all is said and done. Failing to respond results in a quick default judgment and lower court costs passed on to the debtor.

When Settlements Are Reached

The two parties to a civil lawsuit don’t have to go to trial. They can work out a settlement between themselves, submit that settlement for court approval, and then move on from there. Settlements can be negotiated for any number of reasons:

  • Limiting the Damage – A debtor’s attorney might recommend working out a settlement to limit the financial damage. Reaching a settlement can keep the amount owed under control. On the other hand, going to court and losing could ultimately mean the debtor pays more.
  • Reducing Legal Fees – There is always a chance that going to court could mean a higher legal bill for the debtor. Between court costs and attorney fees, trials only add to the amount. Settling can help by reducing legal fees.
  • Faster Disposition – Entering a settlement agreement can mean faster disposition. This can be extremely attractive to a debtor who simply wants to get a deal done and move on.

The interesting thing about settlements is that they can be reached even if the two parties disagree over the facts of the case. A settlement can mean the parties agree, but it can also mean they have agreed to disagree in order to put the case behind them.

Collection Is What Matters to You

Regardless of the details surrounding a default judgment or settlement, we get the fact that collection is what really matters to you. You have outstanding judgments, and you want to get paid. It is as simple as that. Judgment Collectors can help.

Whether your case ended with a default judgment or settlement agreement, we can put the full force of our experience and knowledge to work on your behalf. We are here to help you get paid. It is what we do.