“Why should I watch other collection trials before my own collection case in Alabama?”
If you’re handling a debt collection lawsuit on your own, which is certainly one of 5 options available to you, we recommend that you go to the courthouse before your trial and watch other Small Claims or District court trials that your judge handles.
(If your case is in Circuit Court, we recommend that you talk to a lawyer as it is incredibly difficult to handle a Circuit Court case on your own).
You may wonder, “Why should I watch other collection trials? Wouldn’t it be better to just go to my trial?”
Observing other trials before your own can be valuable in how you handle your case.
It’s very easy to call the courthouse and find out when your judge is presiding over cases.
You can explain to them that you’ve got a trial coming up with a particular judge and that you would like to sit in on a trial before your own.
They will look and see when your judge is presiding over other cases, and let you know what days your judge will be trying cases.
Usually on those days, the judge will have 15-20 cases in one session.
It’s important that you find out how much time you will need to get to the courthouse on time.
Depending on the courthouse, it may take some time to find a place to park.
Once you’ve gotten a parking spot, you’ll need to go through security, which can take some time, depending on various factors.
After you’ve gone through security, you’ll need to find the courtroom where your trial will be taking place.
If you go to watch court before your own trial date, then you’ll be able to know where you need to go.
This sounds silly, but it will help you decide when you should get to the courthouse on your trial day.
Many people lose their debt collection trials because they didn’t think about any of these factors.
They don’t show up on time or they sit in the wrong courtroom and lose a case they could have won.
When you watch other collection trials, you will notice a few things.
1.) Watching other trials will remind you how important it is to actually show up.
You may notice that most people that represent themselves in trial don’t show up.
They filed an answer in their lawsuit, but they didn’t come to trial, and they lose.
When consumers don’t show up, they get a default judgment against them.
2.) You’ll also notice that the collection lawyer will try to get you to agree to a judgment.
The collection lawyer will stand up and state who they’re representing, and they will look around for the person they’re suing.
When they find them, they’ll ask the consumer to step out into the hallway.
This is where the collection lawyer will try and get consumers to agree on a judgment.
Almost always, they will come back into the courtroom and let the judge know that the consumer and the lawyer have reached an agreement.
You don’t know what exactly was said while the consumer and collection lawyer were in the hallway, but that should give you a idea of what the collection lawyer for your case will be trying to do.
3.) You’ll be able to see how your judge handles his/her cases.
If the case is actually tried, which is unusual, then you’ll be able to see how your judge acts in their courtroom.
What does the judge like or dislike?
Are they formal, or informal?
Some judges are very efficient, and want things to be quick and to the point.
Other judges may say, “This is their day in court, so I will give them a chance to talk.”
If you do this, then you’ll know what to expect from your collection trial, and you’ll be at ease.
Not to say that you won’t be nervous, because if you aren’t nervous then something is wrong, but you will be able to anticipate what’s going to happen when you get through security, and when the collection lawyer takes you into the hallway and tries to convince you to agree to a consent judgment.
You can make your own decision on whether to agree to a consent judgment or to a settlement, but often the collection lawyers don’t have proof that their client owns the debt and that you owe it. You want to be prepared for this so if you decide to try your case, you won’t be distracted by the talk in the hallway.
If you live in the state of Alabama and you have any questions, you can reach us by phone at 1-205-879-2447.
We will gladly walk you through your options and help you the best way we can.
I look forward to speaking with you!
Have a great day.