Your company's usual policy for seeking compensation non-payment may be to turn your customer over to collections. While this approach may be effective in some circumstances, if your customer has a history of non-payment and if you are unable to sell your customer's debt, another option is to take your customer to court.
Know the Risks
There are some downsides to suing. For example, if you believe it is likely that your client will eventually pay and it is worthwhile to keep the individual as a customer, suing him or her can ruin your relationship. Also, if you did not keep adequate records and the client may be able to argue that he or she never agreed to pay for the service, you may lose the case and your chances of reaching an out-of-court settlement. However, if you are not concerned with maintaining your relationship with your client, a lawsuit may be your only way to receive compensation.
Small Claims vs. Superior Court
The first step is to determine whether you should be taking your client to small claims court or if you should sue in a superior court. This is based on how much your client owes you and the particular state you are suing from.
Small claims court is usually preferable because the process is much quicker. If the individual you are suing fails to show up in court, you will automatically win. Also, you do not need a lawyer to represent. In some states, you are not allowed to bring a lawyer even if you would prefer to.
Your Legal Representation
Except in the most complex cases, you usually do not need to hire a lawyer when suing for debt collection. These cases are usually very simple. Unfortunately, there is sometimes a limit set by your state regarding how many lawsuits you can file. Therefore, you will need to sue those whom owe you the most in unpaid invoices first before you exhaust your lawsuit limit.
Winning a Case
The more documentation you have proving that a client owes you, the more likely that you will win the case. If you have any written correspondence in which the client agreed to pay or a signed contract, this must be provided. Also, if your client previously paid for a service in the past, but abruptly ceased making payments while continuing to receive your service, this is strong evidence that your client owes you unpaid debts.
To learn more about suing for non-payment, contact a legal firm like FactorLaw.
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