Debt Collection Lawyer in Erie County
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The Martin Law Firm, P.C. is a debt collection and commercial litigation law firm located in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. We handle debt collection cases in the state and federal courts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Debt Collection Services
We represent individuals and businesses for the collection of debts.
Whether it’s a personal loan or a non-paying customer, The Martin Law Firm, P.C. collection attorneys provide efficient and cost-effective solutions for our clients.
Typically, the collection process starts with a demand letter. If a demand letter fails to resolve the matter, then we commence civil proceedings in court to litigate the matter until a judgment is obtained. Once a judgment is entered against the debtor, we use our expertise to enforce the judgment. This means identifying and locating assets of the debtor through private investigation or post-judgment discovery in order to use those assets to satisfy the judgment and get you paid.
The debt collection process often begins with a demand letter. A formal demand letter is an important first step in the debt collection process because it gives the debtor notice that an attorney is involved in the matter.
When a debtor receives a written demand for payment from an attorney, it is a signal that the creditor is ready to initiate a lawsuit, if the debtor continues to withhold payment. A demand letter:
We prepare our demand letters with careful attention to detail and in compliance with applicable law (e.g. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act).
We make sure that the demand letter clearly specifies who we represent, the amount of the debt, how the debt was incurred, the amount of interest or penalties, and consequences for continued failure to pay. We also attach all relevant documentation including the contract between you and the debtor (if applicable), statements, invoices, and any other relevant information that supports your right to payment of the debt. The demand letter will also warn the debtor that a lawsuit will be filed if payment is not received within a specified time period.
Lawsuit - Civil Litigation
What separates a debt collection law firm from debt collection agencies is a lawyer’s ability to commence civil proceedings in court.
Civil proceedings often result in a settlement with the debtor or a civil judgment. Reducing a debt to a judgment provides an enormous advantage to collect amounts due.
To commence a lawsuit, a lawyer will identify the type of case (e.g., breach of contract) and file a civil complaint, naming the responsible parties as defendants. The defendant must answer the complaint within a certain period of time. After the defendant files an answer to the complaint, the discovery process is commenced.
Discovery includes depositions, written interrogatories, and requests for production of documents. Discovery allows the parties to review documents and question witnesses to gather information for preparation of the case for trial and to evaluate the strength of the case.
In many debt collection matters, a defendant will often try to settle the case sooner rather than later to avoid the cost and expense of litigation. If a settlement is reached, the parties can sign a carefully written settlement agreement. If a settlement is not reached, then the case must proceed until a final judgment is entered.
Our clients often want to negotiate a settlement if there is a valid dispute as to the existence of the debt or the amount of the debt. Sometimes, our clients take a settlement for less than the full amount owed in exchange for a quicker payment.
Whatever the situation, our experience allows us to negotiate a settlement that benefits our clients. A settlement may require a payment in full or an installment payment arrangement.
In most cases, it is advisable that the parties prepare a written settlement agreement to confirm in writing the expectations of the parties. A written settlement agreement should include the amount to be paid, timeline for payment, other responsibilities of the parties, release of liability, events of default, and remedies if the debtor fails to perform its obligations.
Our attorneys will help protect you by incorporating terms in the agreement that broaden your legal remedies upon default including attorneys’ fees clauses, interest and penalties, confession of judgment, and/or the requirement of a personal guaranty.
There are two ways to obtain a civil judgment: 1) default or 2) after trial/arbitration.
A default judgment is entered against a defendant when a complaint is filed, and the defendant fails to file an answer to the complaint within a certain period of time.
A judgment after trial/arbitration is a judgment after the trier of fact (judge or arbitrators) renders a decision after hearing testimony and considering the evidence.
In either event, a civil judgment is a prerequisite to legal proceedings to enforce the judgment.
Post Judgement Remedies
After a judgment is entered against the defendant, our debt collection lawyers can proceed with legal methods for enforcing the judgment. Enforcement of money judgments commence with the issuance of a Writ of Execution.
A Writ is the legal process to seize and take assets from the defendant to satisfy the judgment. A Writ can be used to pursue and seize the defendant’s real estate, safe deposit box contents, bank accounts, partnership shares, membership interests in a limited liability company, personal property, and other assets owned by the defendant.
We assess each case independently since each case has its own set of facts and inherent risks.
Often, we utilize a contingency fee, in which case we take a percentage of any amounts collected as our fee for services. Sometimes, we handle matters on an hourly basis depending on the size of the debt, complexity of the case, and other considerations.
Businesses We Served
The Martin Law Firm, P.C. has handled collection matters for a broad range of businesses, including the following: physicians, architects, landscapers, contractors, electricians, excavators, realtors, banks, finance companies, lenders, car dealerships, printers, turf management, manufacturers, computer and IT, medical billing, restaurants, wholesalers, trucking, advertising, professional associations, maintenance, and the list goes on.
OTHER RELATED LEGAL SERVICES
Our legal team provides individualized legal solutions for our clients by offering high quality legal counsel and representation in diverse areas of law. Our attorneys regularly represent clients throughout Southeast Pennsylvania, including Montgomery County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Philadelphia County.
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