Many people believe once they receive a judgment, the hard part is over. The fact is, the hard part has just begun. 90% of all judgments never go collected. Why is this number so high and what can you do to improve your odds?
First, you need to understand if you have a monetary judgment or not. For instance, just because you take someone to court to get an eviction does not mean you have also won past due rent or damages. In some states you need to get a separate judgment for money owed. In other states it’s included. Once you’re sure you have a judgment, now you can try to enforce it.
Enforcing a judgment can be very difficult. Unfortunately, the laws differ from state to state as do the tactics one can use to collect. Some states make it very difficult to collect, other’s a little easier. No matter where you live, the odds are stacked in the debtor’s favor. You have to be smart, and familiar with the legal system to get the best results. Sometimes the biggest factor can be something as simple as timing.
Due to the complexity involved in collecting judgments, it is recommended to hire a company with vast experience in collecting judgments. Many people make the mistake of hiring the attorney that won the judgment to also collect the judgment. These are two different skill sets. Many attorneys do not know the intricacies involved in successfully collecting a judgment. Another route is to place your judgment with a collection agency. Most collection agencies are very poor at collecting judgments. Judgment collections are very different than “typical” consumer/commercial debt collections. The laws are different and the tactics needed to collect are different. The truth is, judgments can be very expensive to collect. Most collection agencies working on a contingency basis don’t want to assume the costs and risks associated with collecting judgments correctly. Below is a list of what you should look for in a company to collect your judgment.