Every day, judges in civil cases rule in favor of plaintiffs and subsequently enter judgments against defendants. Unfortunately, the majority of those judgments are never paid. According to the American Bar Association, upwards of 80% of the judgments entered in U.S. courtrooms are never satisfied. The reasons are many and varied, but most are related to companies trying to collect on their own when they should turn judgments over to a specialist.
A specialist is a collection agency that focuses exclusively on judgments. According to Salt Lake City’s Judgment Collectors, judgments are a unique type of debt separate from general debt. They are unique because they have the authority of a court order behind them. That changes the game.
More About General Debt
General debt is debt owed simply by the transacting of business. General debt is incurred when a homeowner uses utility services, like water and electricity. Every time they turn the faucet on, the homeowner incurs more debt. The same goes when they run the furnace, plug in the fridge, and so forth.
The key to distinguishing general debt from a judgment is that general debt exists separate from civil litigation. Any person who purchases products or services incurs debt simply by making the purchase. A judgment may start out as general debt, but it doesn’t become an official judgment until a court gets involved.
How Judgments Are Entered
Each of the states has its own rules regarding civil litigation and judgments. As a general rule, the process goes as follows:
- A plaintiff filed a lawsuit against a defendant.
- The defendant is given 30 days to respond.
- During that time, the parties can settle or elect to go to court.
- If they go to court, one party is likely to prevail.
- Should the plaintiff prevail, the court enters a judgment against the defendant.
Unfortunately, what many businesses don’t understand is that courts are not involved in enforcement. The court rules on the case and enters the judgment. As for enforcement, that is left to plaintiffs and their representatives.
Who Collects the Judgment
For all intents and purposes, enforcing a judgment means collecting the money owed. This is usually left to one of three parties: the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s attorney, or a collection agency. Needless to say, the plaintiffs don’t have the skills or knowledge to effectively collect on most judgments. They do not have the time or money, either.
Attorneys are more suited to the task than plaintiffs, but even they are not the best choice. Unless an attorney does nothing but handle judgments, they have other responsibilities. There are other cases to work on and other clients to consult with. As good as they are practicing the law, most attorneys are not highly successful as judgment collectors.
That leaves collection agencies. Note there are two types of agencies: general debt collectors and judgment collectors. A general debt collection agency focuses its attention on anything but judgments. Its team may not have the knowledge, skill, or experience to effectively pursue judgments. So really, that means that a judgment collection agency is the best choice.
Skilled, Knowledgeable, and Persistent
If you are looking at outstanding judgments that have yet to be paid, are you handling them yourself? Have you left them to your attorney or general collection agency? If so, it is time to turn them over to a firm specializing in judgment collection. That firm has the skills, knowledge, and persistence to get your money. It is what they do. And if they have been at it for any length of time, they must be good.