Serious personal injury clients in accident and malpractice cases often understandably get put behind the 8-ball in their personal finances. This means every now and again I deal with a collection lawyer.
The New York Times takes an honest look at the practice of debt collection. Apparently, and you see this from a few hospitals in Maryland, debt collecting attorneys have decided the best way to collect on a debt is to put the case in suit, a practice that is wreaking havoc on the courts because the volume of computer-generated complaints is so high.
The other problem in dealing with debt collecting lawyers, as the article points out, is that many practice law like they are running a factory. You ever try playing phone tag with a debt collection lawyer? It is awful. The lawyer I was calling had no way to get a live receptionist and, incredibly, his message said if we don’t call you back, call us again. Another tactic to get the public feeling cozy about lawyers, I guess. Professional courtesy seems to take a backseat. These lawyers put calls from personal injury lawyers behind random cold calls in the call back food chain.
Believe me, I know I’m overgeneralizing. And I also understand the importance of having legal mechanisms available to support those collecting debts. But I think we need to make sure that the consumer is getting adequate protection under the law, too. As the article points out, many of these debt claims are brought with no meaningful proof of a debt, but the consumer and the consumer does not have the resources or the sophistication to challenge the creditors claim.
I don’t provide any answers today, I’m just pointing out the problem. Tomorrow’s post will try to solve many of the world’s problems, I’m sure.