Nothing is so frustrating for a business owner as not being paid. Of course, we strongly recommend you have signed, written agreements with your clients/customers for any goods delivered or services rendered. A well written agreement will clearly set forth the important terms of the transaction and will likely avoid any subsequent disputes over these important terms. If your clients/customers fail to pay after all of your reasonable efforts, our firm can assist with the preparation of demand letters and, if needed, the filing of a lawsuit to pursue the amounts owed. Lawsuits may be filed in Small Claims Court for amounts owed of $10,000 or less, in District Court for amounts owed of $25,000 or less, or in Superior Court for amounts owed greater than $25,000. Any lawsuit must be timely filed within specified time periods known as statutes of limitation. Our firm can help you determine the applicable statute of limitations and any factors which may extend these limitation periods.
Can you get attorneys’ fees if you get a judgment?
If you entered into a written business contract after October 1, 2011, that includes a reciprocal attorneys’ fees provision, you will be entitled to seek the recovery of your attorneys’ fees pursuant to North Carolina law. The term “business contract” includes contracts between businesses for services, for the sale of products or equipment, commercial real estate contracts and leases, and construction contracts. Consumer contracts (contracts with individuals which are primarily for personal, family and household purposes) and employment contracts are not considered “business contracts” to which this law applies. Our attorneys can review and/or draft your business contracts to make certain you are entitled to recover your attorneys’ fees.
In addition, if your contract qualifies as “evidence of indebtedness” you are entitled to recover attorneys’ fees up to 15% of the outstanding balance owed under a separate North Carolina law; provided, that the contract contains an attorneys’ fees provision and certain notice requirements to the debtor are met. Contracts that qualify as an “evidence of indebtedness” include promissory notes, leases for real property, conditional sales contracts and security agreements. Our attorneys can review your contracts to determine if they qualify as an “evidence of indebtedness” and help you comply with the required notices to the debtor.