THINGS YOUR COLLECTION ATTORNEY SHOULD TELL YOU BEFORE YOU SUE
You earned your money and your customer/debtor does not want to pay. You are entitled to your money and of course, you want it now. You should absolutely pursue the debt. However, before you file suit, there are some things that you should know:
Think about negotiating a payment plan or a lump sum payment with a discount
Litigation can drag on and on. In the end, you may not get paid if the debtor is a corporation that goes out of business. The sooner you get your money or some money out of the debtor, the better off you are. Usually, as soon as the debtor is served with the lawsuit, your attorney will receive a telephone call from the other attorney. Your attorney and you should have, by that time, put a collection strategy together. This should include a payment plan over a period of months or a lump sum payment with a discount.
What happens if you are counter-sued?
When professionals seek payments on their fees, a common defense tactic is to file a counterclaim for malpractice. If you have malpractice insurance, you probably have a duty to report the claim to your carrier. What most people don’t know is that a client can only file suit for malpractice within the shorter period of a. six months of when the malpractice was or should have been discovered or b. two years from the last date of service. Even if you are not in a professional service business, you may still be countersued. Your attorney and you should discuss this possibility and what additional fees, if any, he will charge in the event of a counterclaim.
The collection process is usually long
Usually it takes a minimum of 90 days to collect a debt through the legal process. From the date that the debt is placed with an attorneys’ office to the time that a suit is filed can be 14 days. This is because the attorney must verify the address of the debtor. Then, it can take up to another 30 days to serve the debtor with the complaint. If the debtor does NOT file an answer, the attorney can take a judgment 21 days after service. If the debtor does file an answer with the court, then he has added several months to the collection process. One can plainly see that our legal process, although the best in the world, is a time consuming one.
You are entitled to your money and absolutely should pursue your legal rights. However, before you file suit, you should speak with your attorney about a settlement strategy. This will speed up an otherwise long collection process. You also should discuss the possibility of a counterclaim since this is a very real possibility.
Finally, you should know that the collection process can be long. By having the proper expectations as to when you will realistically see money from your case, you will save yourself needless frustration.
Kevin M. Taylor is an attorney that specializes in debt collection. He is the founder of Kevin M. Taylor, P.C., Collection Attorneys. Kevin M. Taylor, P.C. has been collecting debts for large and small business for the past 15 years. Kevin M. Taylor, P.C. is at 24901 Northwestern Hwy #306, Southfield, MI 48075. For more information call (248) 223-1999 or visit us at www.creditor-law.com.