Civil courts across the country enter judgments every day. Sometimes judgments go in favor of plaintiffs and other times defendants are the winners. But in the end, the majority of all judgments involving monetary payments are never actually collected. Perhaps that’s because the winners (known as judgment creditors) don’t take collection efforts seriously.
One of the biggest misconceptions about civil litigation is that winning a lawsuit guarantees payment. It doesn’t. Winning only establishes liability. In cases involving monetary payment, it establishes said payment as a legal debt owed to the creditor. But it is up to creditors to enforce their judgments, which is to say collect on them.
The thing judgment creditors must always remember is that collection is not personal. It’s business. Getting personally involved doesn’t do anyone any good. Collection should be treated as a business and legal matter – nothing more, nothing less.
No Personal Vendettas
Creditors need to be especially careful about developing personal vendettas against the debtors they are pursuing. Why? Because debt collection is regulated by state and federal laws. Allowing a personal vendetta to develop could lead a creditor to take action in violation of the law. Then the creditor is a bigger problem to deal with.
There is no room for personal vendettas in debt collection. Once again, collection is a business and legal issue. It is not personal. It never should be.
Not the Debtor’s Friend
Something else to be careful of is trying to be a debtor’s friend. Keeping a debtor at arm’s length is the wiser choice given the fact that this drastic step sometimes needs to be taken to satisfy an unpaid judgment. A good example is having to ask the court for a Writ of Seizure and Sale.
Seizing and selling a debtor’s property is an uncomfortable experience. Creditors do not want to feel like the ‘bad guys’ in the whole collection scenario. That is exactly what they are perceived to be by the debtors whose property is taken.
If a creditor allows himself to become the debtor’s friend, asking for a Writ of Seizure and Sale becomes that much more difficult. But if taking a debtor’s property is necessary to collect, so be it. Sometimes collection efforts are uncomfortable. It is the nature of the business.
Turn It Over to Someone Else
A creditor struggling to keep collections from turning personal does have options. Among them is turning collection over to someone else. This could be an attorney, a general collection agency, or an agency that specializes in judgments. Utah-based Judgment Collectors is one such specialist agency.
Letting someone else handle collection completely divorces a creditor from the situation. The creditor no longer needs to get involved in daily collection efforts. He isn’t faced with making those painful decisions that often come with collecting. As an added bonus, letting professionals handle collection increases the chances of success.
Think Before You Sue
If you’ve been considering a civil lawsuit against another party, here’s a word of advice: think before you sue. Consider the implications of actually winning and having to enforce a judgment entered on your behalf. If you have trouble not making things personal, either skip the lawsuit or plan on turning enforcement over to a third party after the fact.
Collecting judgments should never be a personal matter. Collecting is a legal and business matter. Keeping things on a business level makes it easier for a creditor to keep his emotions out of it. Keeping the debtor at arm’s length makes it easier to do whatever is necessary to actually collect. That is the way it should be.