What do you do if someone owes you money on a contract and they won’t pay you? Well, there are a number of things you can do yourself. The first thing you want to do is make sure you have a written contract. Do you have a written contract, signed by the person against you that you’re pursuing, saying, “I’m going to pay him a $1,000,” or, did you do work for them and you have an invoice where you sent them an account and they were supposed to pay you and they didn’t? Did you sell him something? Did you have a bill of sale or a bill of lading, and they didn’t pay you?
So, first, make sure you have a written contract. If you don’t, get a written contract and make sure you do your business with written contracts. Secondly, you want to make a claim before you hire a lawyer like me and you waste your money, potentially waste your money, right? You want to see if you can settle it yourself, so call them, email them, put it in writing, make a demand. In your contract, say that if you have to sue them, you get your attorney’s fees and expenses, and that’s leverage you have against the other person. Write him a letter, write him an email, “Pay me, 30 days. Pay me, 30 days. Pay me, 30 days later.” And then you can say, “Listen, if you don’t pay me, I’m going to have to hire a lawyer and you’re going to have to pay for all of that too.” It would be amazing what that can do.
And, you can also file your own claim. You can go to small claims court under $5,000. In any locale and in your county, there’s a small claims court. It’s usually a $25 filing fee. You file a petition. You fill out the form. They’ll get service. They’ll bring them into court, and you’ll get a judgment against them, and then you can try to collect against them. If it’s more than that, you can go to associate circuit court. Now when you start getting more than that, a lawyer like me can add value to the case. I’m Gary Burger. I’m with Burger Law.
And, a breach of contract is a duty, a breach, inconsequential damage from them. You can get the damages as a result of that. Sometimes you can get interest, sometimes you get attorney’s fees in cost, if it’s in your contract. If it isn’t in your contract, you’re not going to get those, so you might want to put that in your agreement as I’ve already mentioned.
So, if it’s a bigger case, come and talk to me. We’ll consult with you, whether or not a lawyer like me can add value to the case. We have a wide variety of complex and big civil matters, commercial disputes where we sue on behalf of individuals and companies where debts are owed, and we have a good track record of success on those cases, and we know how to litigate and persuade the other side of the wisdom of our position and why they should pay the contract or the debt that is owed to you. Sometimes these are notes when you loan people money. Sometimes they’re statements of accounts where you’re doing an account of someone.
So, the legal document, the contract on which your claim is based can vary, and there are a variety of ways to make these claims. There are fraud claims, there are other things too. We don’t try to make it more complicated than it is because the simpler case wins, but if you have any questions about a breach of contract case or a commercial dispute or how to collect the debt owed to you by someone else, call us at 314-542-2222, in Illinois it’s 618-272-2222, or toll-free at 866-599-2222, or visit us at www.burgerlaw.com. Thank you.