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Hardships: When Times Get Tough

Posted by Mateusz Szymanski | May 27, 2022

People don't generally fall behind on bills just because they don't feel like paying them.  Unexpected circumstances are the usual suspects that prevent honest and hardworking people from making their payments.  Things happen.  People get sick.  Tragedies strike.  Global pandemics and economic shutdowns appear. Life happens. 

These life changing events are incredibly significant to everyone, and they can be just as significant in cases involving unpaid debt.  When presented correctly and strategically to the debt collector, they can make a big difference in negotiations. 

Loss of income or job loss is the most common hardship our clients encounter.  It is important to get the relevant facts about what happened, because some hardships lead to other hardships that are not easily identifiable.  The right degree of detail is also important, so simply writing “COVID-19” as the entirety of a hardship with no additional explanation will not likely help our clients in negotiations.  A client's health or family illness are also hardships our clients deal with.  This one is usually more sensitive because of our human instinct to keep personal things personal, and for good reason.  The federal government even prohibits debt collectors from requesting health information or medical documentation through the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).  I carefully review and discuss such hardships with clients before the client makes a decision whether to present a health hardship to the debt collector, after balancing the privacy interests of the client and the potential benefit in negotiation. 

Many defendants in debt cases do not consider or present their hardships.  Some are too embarrassed about the situation they are in and do not want to make excuses.  Others just think that it will not make a difference.  My experience suggests that presenting a hardship effectively can make a big difference.

The attorneys at Holland Law Group can help you analyze your particular situation and assist you in sufficiently explaining your particular hardships to get the best result we can.  We help people in your situation each and every day, across the state of Florida, from Miami to Tampa to Jacksonville and everywhere in between.  Let us help you too!

About the Author

Mateusz Szymanski

Mateusz Szymanski earned his Honors Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Toronto. He then went on to attend Ave Maria School of Law in Naples, Florida, graduating in the top half of his class, and has been admitted to the Florida Bar since 2012. Prior to joining the team at the Hol...

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