A collection agency sends demand letters to debtors, but these can be easily ignored which can, in turn, delay the efforts of debt collectors to recover money. Some debt collection agencies offer legal services to clients. However, what typically happens is that a suit or activator fee is charged if and when legal action becomes necessary. Therefore, it may be better to hire the best collections lawyer near you rather than deal with a creditor or collection agency.
What is a Collections Lawyer?
Lawyers who specialize in healthcare debt and other debt collection can help you develop legal strategies to recover debt from non-paying clients. You can expect them to assist you with filing paperwork and having them represent you at trial if needed.
What Does a Collections Attorney Do?
Hiring a debt collection attorney can save you time, money, and frustration because they:
- Assess the debtor and the debt: Your claim is evaluated for collectability before collection action is taken, including relevant statutes of limitations or weak documentary evidence issues.
- File lawsuits: A lawsuit is filed promptly after a demand letter has been sent and any statutory dispute period has expired.
- Prepare your case: Verify the debt promptly in the event of a dispute.
- Negotiate on your behalf: Debt repayment plans that are reasonable and achievable are negotiated, monitored, and enforced. To avoid your claim being reduced or canceled during a bankruptcy proceeding, repayment plans are encouraged.
- Pursue your debt aggressively: By filing judgment liens and garnishment proceedings after a judgment has been obtained against a judgment debtor, legal judgments are obtained and enforced.
When Should You Hire a Collections Lawyer?
There are situations where a debt collection lawyer may be necessary:
- You expect that your case will go to court. You should hire a debt collection attorney if you've been chasing your debt excessively and are expecting a judgment before getting your money back. In the courtroom, you can theoretically represent yourself, however a professional with expertise in the relevant federal laws and consumer protection laws is much more likely to win.
- You need to send demand letters. Say you expect your case to go to court, but do not want to sue. Demand letters will describe your side of the story and state that legal action won't be taken if the client pays a certain amount. Often, when nonpaying clients receive these documents, they are compelled to pay before you sue. A lawyer for collections near you can help you write legally sound demand letters.
- You are owed at least $5,000 by your client. When a nonpaying client owes you $5,000 or more, some debt collection experts recommend hiring a debt collection attorney. A lawyer is a good choice if the debt is large enough that it seems worth the cost to proceed to court, in general.
- Your client is a large company. Debt collection attempts against larger companies are usually more difficult. Collections attorneys near you who specialize in debt collection are familiar with how large companies use these resources, so they can be helpful as you collect corporate debts.
- You need any other assistance in collecting debts. Collection agencies are often mentioned when discussing how to collect debt. Nevertheless, a debt collection attorney will know all the relevant laws and aptly advise you; only a lawyer can provide legal advice or file a lawsuit.
How Do I Choose the Right Collections Attorney?
You should learn and consider the following aspects of each candidate as you search for a debt collection attorney:
What is the fee for the debt collection attorney?
Ask each prospective attorney about their fee structure and determine whether you can afford the costs of going to court.
What type of debt do they specialize in?
You should find a lawyer who specializes in your specific type of debt. It is important that they are familiar with the legal issues of your case, fair debt collection practices, and how to navigate this area of the law.
What is their communication style?
You should ask your lawyer about their communication style and how often they will provide you with updates throughout the process, then you can decide whether their answer suits your needs. Good communication is necessary for a functioning attorney-client relationship.
How do their references describe them?
If a debt collection attorneys is trustworthy, they should be able to easily provide you with references and should not hesitate to connect you with these references should you require them.
Are they independent contractors or do they work for a company?
It's common for independent lawyers to work outside of a firm because they are good at running the show. On the other hand, independent lawyers may not have access to certain resources, including time, that firms tend to have.
Are they going to represent you in court?
Not every debt collection attorney will represent you in court. Make sure the lawyer you choose can represent you in court if that may be required at some stage.
How Much Does a Collections Lawyer Typically Cost?
As with the rules and statutes about the collection of these fees, attorney fees for filing a lawsuit to obtain a judgment include court costs. The average fee for a collection of less than $10,000 is $575, while the average fee for a collection of over $10,000 is $900.
Do Collections Attorneys Charge for Consultations?
Most lawyers charge a nominal consultation fee, but some lawyers provide free consultations. Before setting up an appointment with a lawyer, make sure to find out the costs.