Litigation Timeline

Below are some general guidelines of how long it typically takes to get a judgment and then collect in two different scenarios:  Default Judgment (when the debtor does not fight the lawsuit) and Defended Lawsuit.  The time frames below apply to about 85% of the cases we file.  There can be exceptions, such as when things move very fast with no issues, or more frequently, when we struggle to serve debtors or they make things very difficult or we are in a very slow court jurisdiction.

As mentioned in the Defended Lawsuit section of the Collection Litigation Process, it does not take much effort or investment for a debtor to defend a lawsuit and delay the trial date a year or more.  As such, we encourage clients to carefully evaluate any settlement offers in comparison to the litigation due to the delays, higher cost and uncertainty.

Default JudgmentDefended Lawsuit
Request litigation quote1 week1 week
Provide quote to client2 days2 days
Client approves quote1 week1 week
Invoice client for costs1 week1 week
Client pays costs3 weeks3 weeks
Prepare and forward file to attorney1 week1 week
Attorney prepares and files lawsuit2-6 weeks2-6 weeks
Serve lawsuit2-12 weeks2-12 weeks
Defendant’s right to answer4-6 weeks4-6 weeks
File for Default Judgment2-4 weeks
Hearing to set trial date2-5 months
Interrogatories and depositions2-5 months
Trial6-14 months
Judgment issued1-6 months1-6 months
Judgment recorded1-2 months1-2 months
Time to get a judgment4-12 months6-24 months
Judgment collection activities3-12 months3-12 months

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