Chaplin & Gonet’s success is due in large part to a three-pronged collection process that we have developed and continue to improve upon. The three prongs are what we refer to as the prejudgment, judgment, and post-judgment processes.
The pre-judgment process of subrogation is initiated when the client places the account with our office. Each subrogation account is entered into our computerized collection system and a collection specialist is assigned to the account. An initial contact letter is promptly sent to the debtor upon of receipt of the account. Our goal is to elicit a response from the debtor and facilitate immediate payment on the account without the need for litigation.
The initial subrogation contact letter is also an effective tool to determine whether the debtor’s address is valid. If returned mail is received, the collection specialists will skip trace the debtor. Numerous methods are employed including, but not limited to, accessing Department of Motor Vehicles records.
If a debtor either does not respond to the contact letter or disputes the debt, litigation is initiated and the judgment process begins. Cases that are within the jurisdiction of the General District Courts (i.e., $25,000.00 or less) are filed in those courts to minimize the costs to the subrogation client and expedite the litigation process. To maximize efficiency, subrogation cases in more distant venues will be pooled until a sufficient number in that area of the state are accumulated to make travel to that venue cost effective. Of course, any subrogation cases with a statute of limitations issue will be filed immediately. Due to their nature, many of the cases filed result in general district court result in judgments. However, a significant portion will be set for trial. Chaplin & Gonet’s seasoned subrogation litigation attorneys handle any contested cases that go forward to trial.
Obtaining the judgment in a subrogation case is the easy part. It is the subsequent collection of that judgment which is the most difficult and time-consuming. We refer to this as the post-judgment process.
Once a judgment has been obtained, we routinely docket the judgment in the Circuit Court of any city or county where the debtor is likely to own or acquire real estate. With a judgment lien in place, the debtor must satisfy the judgment before the property can be sold. The collection specialist will again skip trace and attempt to locate the debtor and obtain as much information as possible. With our direct link to credit reporting agencies and the Department of Motor Vehicles, we can access debtor information twenty-four hours a day. The information ascertained through skip tracing determines the legal avenue we will follow to collect.