If I’m Owed a Debt, What’s My Recourse?
Updated: Aug 12
Now that you know who is legally responsible for repaying the debt, it's important to know what your options are for collecting the debt. Your options fall into two categories: non-litigation and litigation. Non-litigation refers to any agreements forged outside of court. You don’t necessarily need a lawyer to engage in non-litigation collection methods, but it can certainly help.
Here are some non-litigation collection methods:
Demand letter: A good and effective demand letter should do several things: (1) identify the balance owed; (2) provide a deadline for when payment should be made; and (3) state the repercussions if payment isn’t made.
Calls: engaging the debtor in a discussion about how to repay the debt is often an effective way to collect.
Reporting to Collection Agencies: this applies to consumer (as opposed to business) debt. Threatening, or actually reporting, the debt to a collection agency can prompt payments.
Filing liens: the ability to file a lien depends on the type of debt owed. Several professions, such as contractors, architects and brokers, can file liens without having to litigate first. Liens can be effective because they serve as liens against real property, and often the debtors have an incentive to keep their property lien-free.
Trying to resolve the issue outside of court is the first step. But if non-litigation methods are exhausted and the debt remains unpaid, litigation is your only recourse. Because litigation can be con
fusing and complex, deciding what type of litigation to pursue requires careful consideration of all the facts. Some key considerations are: (1) who’s responsible for the debt? (addressed in our prior blog post) (2) how much is the debt? (The debt size matters in deciding where to file the lawsuit.) and (3) what type of debt is it? (The type of debt matters in deciding what claims to bring in a lawsuit.)
These questions can be hard to answer and some experienced counsel in these matters can go a long way towards getting you the outcome you desire. Fortunately, the Downs Law Team is here to help! Reach out to us with any questions or concerns you have regarding your uncollected debts. We have the experience to help you navigate this confusing territory and will work to make sure your best interests are protected and your debts are recovered. Contact us.