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You are Either Winning or Losing

Today’s tip is about “keeping on track.” That is, sometimes people facing debt litigation are challenged by the mere numbers, and the debt – and everything about the case – can seem unreal and meaningless. Today’s tip is to remind you that it is real, and it does matter.

First, the deadlines are real, and they do matter. If you neglect to respond to discovery, for example, and the the time for responding to requests for admissions passes, you will likely face a motion for summary judgment. If you cannot get your responses permitted, you will probably lose the case. If the debt collector adds fees and manages to make them stick by means of a judgment, then you will likely spend a lot of time and effort trying to pay them – and get caught on the wheel of endless poverty. Unless you find a way off. Better to avoid that wheel!

It All Matters in Real Life

My point here is simple, though. It seems, when you have ten, twenty or fifty thousand dollars of debt, that a few bucks more won’t count. It seems that if you have two lawsuits pending against you already, it won’t matter if you take actions to avoid a third – or settle down and begin fighting them one at a time.

At a lower level, it looks like if you’re missing a payment, it doesn’t matter whether the late fee is correct or not.

In reality, it all counts.

I’m not saying that you will pay, dollar for dollar, on any money that is owed, but you will pay, one way or another, for everything that happens. The world is full of strange twists and turns, and all kinds of things happen – you inherit money, or one of the creditors drops the ball and disappears. One of them might make a settlement offer, or you need to refinance your house… if you don’t take care of what you can, your ability to act becomes more and more constricted.

There are no free lunches in this world, but if you keep trying things tend to work out eventually one way or the other – and the better you start, the more likely you are to have things work out in the end.

It All Matters in Litigation

In the world of litigation, on the other hand, it also all matters. In a way, the only thing that counts is the final score: you win or they win. But that’s not really the way it plays out. And the reason for that is actually similar to the reason the debt all counts. People – all people, but specially lawyers – are constantly evaluating what they should do. Should they drop the case and move on to someone a little easier to beat? A little more likely to pay? Could they actually lose the case? And how many other judgments could they get instead of pursuing you?

Cases almost never go to trial. Instead, the lawyers are constantly assessing the risk-reward ratio of continuing in the direction they’re going. If you are conducting yourself well and pushing them hard, it is more likely they will let you go and go off in search of easier victims. If you are doing the things you should do, and not doing the things you should not – you will make yourself a harder target.

You won’t necessarily know they’re going to give up until they actually do, so you have to play every play like it matters.