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Credit & Collections Kit For Dummies® by Aaron Larson, Steven A. Harms

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Chapter 16

Understanding How Lawsuits Work

In This Chapter

Considering pre-suit issues

Preparing and filing the paperwork for your lawsuit

Getting a judgment against the debtor

Handling a contested lawsuit

Getting ready to go to court

What’s the strongest way to express your dissatisfaction over a debtor not paying a bill? How do you pull out all the stops and enforce collection of an unpaid balance? You file a lawsuit, obtain a judgment, and then enforce that judgment.

Though some lawyers tell you that the process of litigating a case is beyond the scope of what a layperson can do, the fact is that you can learn the process of suing and enforcing judgments. And with that knowledge, you may be able to do part or all of it yourself. This chapter guides you through process of litigation against a debtor, from the initial filing right up through the entry of a judgment. You may need some help along the way, but we present these materials in enough detail to get you through a simple collections suit. (For more on taking a suit to trial, check out Chapters 17 and 18.)

Knowing What Lawsuits Entail

According to the dictionary, a lawsuit is a case you file in a court, alleging that somebody has caused you harm and asking for a legal remedy. From your perspective as a credit and collections professional, a lawsuit is the strongest measure you can take to enforce collection of an unpaid balance. It involves filing a summons and a complaint with the court; the defendant/debtor then has ...

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