Junk debt buyers like Midland Funding, Portfolio Recovery, Cavalry SPV, CACH, LLC, and Cortez Investment files thousands debt collection cases in Arizona courts every month. Most of these cases don’t end well. In fact, over 95% of debt collection lawsuits filed by junk debt buyers end in a default judgment – meaning that the consumer (i.e., you) didn’t file a written response to the allegations in the lawsuit.
Sometimes a default happens because the debt buyer serves a copy of the lawsuit to an incorrect address. However, many people default on their lawsuit because they aren’t exactly sure what they need to do to file the written Answer and what steps to take to win their debt collection case.
While I know that spending money on a lawyer is the last thing you want to do at this moment, here are five (5) reasons you should consider hiring an attorney to help you with your debt collection case – even if that attorney is not me.
#1 – You Don’t Know What You are Doing
I know. This sounds condescending and maybe even a little rude. I don’t mean it that way.
But the number one reason people lose their case is simply because they don’t know what they are doing.
I look at it this way, my dad and my brother are both mechanics. When it comes to fixing cars I don’t have a clue. Seriously, I can’t fix a thing – and even more I don’t want to fix anything. Because I don’t know what I am doing. Anytime I am under the hood it is a frustrating process and the end result is never a running car.
I leave it to the professionals.
Similarly, when it comes to handling debt collection lawsuits experience and skill are necessary to successfully navigate the court system. I have done over 300 trials/arbitration hearings in junk debt buyers cases.
I deal with debt collection lawsuits every day.
The process of navigating the Arizona court system can be complex. The picture below is my Arizona Civil Rules Handbook. It is 1324 pages long. I have read it. I study it. It contains the rules and procedures that you are going to be required to know in order to have any chance at all to win your case.
In Arizona courts are required to hold “pro per” litigants (people representing themselves) to the same standard as they do attorneys who appear in their courts. Because of this judge will assume you have taken the time to educate yourself on the Arizona Rules of Evidence, the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure, and that you understand the relevant case law. If you don’t you will put yourself in a situation where a misstep could cost you your case.
Don’t get me wrong. People do represent themselves in court and people have won their cases while acting as their own attorney. However if you want to give yourself the best chance at winning your debt collection case that will happen if you are represented by an attorney who handles consumer defense cases.
#2 – You Don’t Have Time to Represent Yourself
Lawyers kill a lot of trees. If you have ever been involved in a lawsuit before you understand that it seems like you are getting hit with some sort of court filing on almost every day. There are motions, notices, minute entries, disclosures, discovery, memorandum, etc. Sometimes you need to respond to it, sometimes not.
One of the most common reasons people hire me after they start representing themselves in their debt collection case is that they simply don’t have time to deal with all of the paperwork, court hearings, etc. They find themselves staying up all night researching cases, and rules, and procedures, and drafting documents and then have to go work at their real job all day.
It gets exhausting.
Hiring an attorney takes all of that off your plate and allows you to do what you do best and your attorney to do what they do best.
#3 – You Will Get a Better Settlement Offer if You Have a Lawyer
While I can’t say this is 100% true in all cases, I can tell you that in most of my cases we are able to negotiate a better settlement offer then if you were representing yourself.
The reason is we work with the attorneys for the junk debt buyers on a daily basis. We have done hundreds of trials and they know that we won’t hesitate to take a case to trial, or to appeal it, or do what ever it takes to get the best result for our clients.
Trials, appeals, litigating, it is not only time consuming for you, but cuts into the profits of the junk debt buyer. They want to resolve the case as quickly and cheaply as possible. Spending a year litigating a case with another attorney can totally eat into any profits they may have realized on the account.
When a junk debt buyer sees an attorney on the other side, they know they are going to have to work for a judgment and this can often lead to a better settlement offer – meaning you pay less to get your case resolved.
#4 – A Lawyer Can Help you Preserve Your Case for an Appeal
Judge, like lawyers and frankly everyone else, make mistakes sometimes. You might have the best case in Arizona but at the end of the day the final decision is up to your judge and whether or not she agrees with the defenses you put forth in your case.
Often people who represent themselves at trial will come to my office after having a local Justice of the Peace enter judgment against them and want me to appeal the case to the superior court.
Every case can be appealed to a higher court, however many misunderstand the role of the appeals court is and when it can actually benefit you.
In Arizona cases heard before the justice courts are appealed to the superior court. Cases heard before the superior court are appealed to the Arizona Court of Appeals. In either case, the appellate judge’s job is to review the legal decisions made by the judge who handled the trial and determine if the judge followed the law in coming to the final ruling.
But the appellate judge will not simply re-do the trial or even read a transcript of the entire proceeding. What the appellate judge is looking for are objections raised by one of the parties to the lawsuits and then a decision rendered by the judge on that objection.
For example, if I am in trial and a junk debt buyer attempts to introduce a monthly statement created by Bank of America, I would object to hearsay. The judge would then be required to rule whether or not the document was hearsay and then either admit the document into evidence or exclude it.
On appeal, the appellate judge would then review the judge’s ruling on my hearsay objection and decide whether or not the trial judge got it right.
However, if I don’t object to the document as hearsay I have then waived any right to raise the hearsay issue on appeal. Basically if you don’t object to something at trial, you can’t object to it on appeal.
This means that often when people represent themselves at trial there are many objections that are not raised. If the objection is not raised then it cannot be reviewed on appeal.
The appellate court will generally not review the entire case and decide whether or not the trial judge “got it right”. Hiring an attorney will help you preserve the issues for appeal in the event you get a bad ruling from your trial judge.
#5 – You Will Benefit from a Consumer Protection Lawyer’s Years of Experience
From the outside it can seem like the law is really black and white. The longer I practice law the more gray I see. Not only can the law be very intricate and complicated, but more times than I can count I have had cases decided both for and against my clients based upon things that had nothing to do with the law.
I have won cases for my clients based upon the following:
- Knowing that it is better to ask that your case be transferred out of some courts – in some courts the judge will not rule in your favor.
- Knowing what to do if an attorney for a junk debt buyer shows up to mediation without their client.
- Knowing the concerns of certain judges when it comes to the documents submitted by junk debt buyers
- Knowing what to do if a junk debt buyer’s attorney doesn’t show up for a pre-trial conference
- Knowing what strategies to use in responding to a Motion for Summary Judgment
- Knowing which opposing attorneys will work with us to get a good settlement, and which would prefer to fight it out in court
- Knowing that spending some time objecting to a telephonic witness at trial may be the entire case
Over the years of my law practice I have learned that there are numerous factors and variables that go into winning a case and sometimes the smallest of details can result in you winning your case. If you are represented by an experienced consumer protection lawyer you dramatically increase your chances of having your debt buyer case end favorably.
The Arizona Consumer Law Group Can Help You with Your Case.
Have you been sued by a junk debt buyer like Midland Funding, Portfolio Recovery, CACH, LLC, Cavalry SPV, or Cortez Investment? Every day we help consumers are are dealing with the stress associated with fighting abusive debt collectors. We offer a free consultation where we can help you understand the court process and put you in the best position possible for a favorable outcome in your case. You can reach us at (480) 420-4028 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.