Debt Collection Attorney
Flaherty Fardo has over 25 years experience helping debtors, both individuals and businesses, collect debt which they are owed. We are experienced in all aspects of litigation - from demand letters to filing a Complaint in Civil Action, to obtaining a judgment, to executing on that judgment.
How Do I Collect Debt in Pennsylvania?
Our Pittsburgh firm enjoys collecting monies for our clients. Our clients consist of banks, credit unions, business owners, collection agencies, mortgage companies and individuals.
We thoroughly research and analyze every collection case before we accept it. Over the past 10 years, our team of collection attorneys have helped creditors recover monies and debts owed for student loans, defaulted mortgages, and everyday account receivables including money loaned.
We have helped our business clients engage in pre-litigation, litigation and post-litigation strategies, including sending demand letters, filing suit and obtaining a judgment, repossession, seizure of bank accounts and sheriff’s sales of personal and business property.
There are times for filing suit in collections and there are times when it is more advantageous to negotiate. We help our clients make the best overall business decisions to collect their money fast.
READ TOP ARTICLE: The 5 Steps How to Collect Debt In Pennsylvania
Do I have to Send a Demand Letter?
The first step in debt collection is often sending a demand letter to the debtor. Our team will work with our clients on drafting a letter that lets the debtor know how much is owed and that an attorney is now involved in the process. When an attorney sends a demand letter to a debtor, it will put the debtor on notice that the creditor is potentially prepared to file a lawsuit to try to recover the monies owed. A demand letter demonstrates to the debtor that the creditor is serious about recovering this money.
In some situations, a demand letter is required to be sent before a lawsuit is initiated - usually in a contract provision between the debtor and the creditor. Flaherty Fardo will review these contract provisions to determine what is necessary at the time of drafting the demand letter so that all remedies are available to the creditor. Some contracts also allow for attorneys fees, in which case the creditor may be able to get reimbursed for the amount they pay an attorney to send a demand letter and/or otherwise attempt collecting a debt.
It is important to make sure that, when a demand letter is sent, that the demand letter is in compliance with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Flaherty Fardo will draft demand letters in accordance with this law.
Should I Sue to Collect Debt?
If a demand letter is not effective, sometimes the only option is to file a lawsuit against the debtor. Usually, this is in the form of a breach of contract action. Flaherty Fardo will identify any and all possible defendants and name them in the lawsuit. Once the defendants are served with the Complaint in Civil Action, they will need to respond to the pleading within 20 days.
If they do not respond, Flaherty Fardo will send a a 10-day notice of intention to file a default judgment. If the defendant then responds, full litigation will commence in which written discovery may be sent and depositions may be taken.
Sometimes a settlement can be reached prior to additional attorneys fees being incurred. It usually makes sense, at some point in the litigation process, to make another demand of payment. As the case is now in litigation, the debtor can be more inclined to settle so as to not incur their own attorneys fees. Flaherty Fardo will help advise the client as to what settlement amount makes sense. Flaherty Fardo will also carefully draft a settlement agreement which preserves all remedies of additional litigation and/or collection if the debtor does not comply with the settlement provisions. If a settlement is not reached, the case will go in front of a judge or a jury who will decide if the defendant is liable to the creditor.
If the defendant does not respond to the Complaint in Civil Action after the 10-day notice of intention to file default judgment is sent, Flaherty Fardo will file for a default judgment - at which point they will pursue execution of the judgment at the client's request.
How Do I Collect on a Judgment?
Once a judgment is obtained, a creditor can begin execution attempts. There are numerous steps that can be taken, which include but are not limited to the following:
- Garnishing a bank account if the creditor knows where the debtor banks;
- Filing a writ of execution against real property (sheriff sale);
- Filing a writ of execution against personal property (vehicles, electronics, office equipment, etc.);
- Taking depositions in aid of execution; and
- Sending written discovery to the debtor to determine which assets they have.