No one likes getting a letter from an attorney threatening legal action if you fail to comply with certain demands, especially regarding the payment of a debt. Collection letters can help recover an overdue obligation if they come from an attorney but
many debtors know that a letter is usually an empty threat of legal action especially if they have dealt with unpaid debts in the past.
It can be expensive to file a lawsuit but in some states collection agencies cannot file lawsuits and must retain an attorney. You can certainly send a letter to someone who owes you money and may file a lawsuit on your own, but having a debt collection handle all collection matters will relieve you of the frustration inherent in trying to collect on a debt.
Selecting a Debt Collection Lawyer
Dealing with a recalcitrant debtor is better left to a legal professional who deals with these cases on a daily and routine basis. An experienced debt collection attorney will have the resources and technology to uncover nonexempt assets and to locate debtors who may have disappeared or moved before or after a judgment was obtained.
Your attorney should have trial experience as well as this is good indication that he or she is not intimated by the trial process or in prosecuting debt claims against corporate entities as well as individual consumers who take a hard line.
Serving legal process on a debtor can be difficult if the debtor has moved. Your attorney can handle this by personal service, substitute service or by publication. In some cases, once service is effectuated, you may get a call from the debtor offering to settle.
If you sued a corporation, your state may require that it be represented by an attorney. If so, you will want an attorney who has handled such cases in the past.
Before and After Judgment
Most debt cases result in a judgment by default since a debtor with no defense will not bother to appear or to hire an attorney. Once a judgment is obtained, the hardest step is collecting on the debt.
In many instances, your attorney can locate assets belonging to the debtor. Your lawyer can also compel the debtor to appear for a deposition where he or she may be questioned under oath and asked to produce certain records evidencing bank accounts, employment status and business income and assets.
If you are a business entity and are trying to collect a commercial debt, your attorney can obtain a prejudgment writ of attachment that is served by the county Sheriff or Constable to secure cash, business equipment or even inventory while the case is pending. The debtor can challenge the writ or may post a bond for the amount of the judgment in lieu of the writ so that you can collect if judgment is in your favor.
For post judgment procedures, bank levies on the debtor’s bank account and wage garnishment is possible. Your attorney can handle all of these procedures for you while ensuring compliance with the laws of your state.