Reason Civil Litigation Is Always Risky
Imagine being the victim of a deadbeat contractor who collects a tidy sum of money but never does the work. You may have invested thousands of dollars in what amounted to nothing more than a scam. It is off to the lawyer you go. You believe your only recourse is civil litigation. Your lawyer agrees but advises that you seriously consider moving forward. He tells you that litigation is risky.
This scenario is not all that uncommon. Unfortunately, the courts are filled with civil cases brought by plaintiffs who have been wronged by scam artists, business owners, and even their friends and neighbors. Our sense of justice tells us that litigation should be completely risk-free if one has a legitimate case. But this is not always true.
Civil litigation resulting in a plaintiff’s ultimate satisfaction requires cooperation from the defendant. Here’s the #1 risk every plaintiff faces: a defendant who is actively unwilling to pay.
1. Judgments as Legal Instruments
So many people are disappointed because they do not understand what judgments are. As legal instruments, they are simply an official record that one party owes another party money. Judgments also act as a record verifying that the plaintiff has the legal authority to collect from the defendant. But that’s about as far as it goes.
It is up to the plaintiff to handle collection. The defendant is expected to cooperate but as is so often the case, cooperation can be fleeting. Debtors may refuse to reveal all their assets. They might refuse to reveal their employment. Then what? Plaintiffs must utilize other resources to uncover the information.
One way to do so is to work with a judgment collection agency. Firms like Salt Lake City’s JudgmentCollectors.com specialize in tracking down nonpaying debtors and researching their assets. Those who excel in this line of work do so because they excel at research and investigation.
2. A New Bill to Pay
The summation of all of this is to say that plaintiffs are often left with new bills to pay when defendants do not cooperate. Again, let’s go back to the wronged homeowner. He has already lost several thousand dollars to a contractor who did not deliver. He has had to pay several thousand more to a legitimate contractor just to get the work done. But that’s not all.
That homeowner also has to pay his legal fees. There are attorneys to pay, court costs to cover, and so forth. All that money comes out of his pocket unless, and until, the debtor pays up. What started out as a loss of a few thousand dollars could be many times more when all is said and done.
3. Go Right to a Collection Agency
None of this is to say that civil litigation is a bad thing. It’s not in and of itself. But civil litigation always comes with risks. In the case of judgment collection, the risk is being left with a sizable legal bill as a result of not actually collecting. There is a way to avoid this sort of thing.
Going to a judgment collection agency immediately after the judgment is entered is the best bet. Experienced judgment collectors can get on the case right away. They can get to work before the defendant has time to move assets or go into hiding.
If you have had the unfortunate experience of not being able to collect a judgment, you understand everything in this post. If not, take it from those who have pursued civil litigation in the past. It comes with risks. Be willing to accept those risks before you proceed.