As a business litigation attorney, I am often asked, how much in attorney’s fees and interest can be collected on an unpaid invoice claim in Georgia? The answer may surprise you. In Georgia, how much a plaintiff can be awarded in interest and attorney’s fees depends on what if any language is contained in the invoice regarding the subject matter.
O.C.G.A. 13-1-11 states that attorney’s fees and interest stated therein are enforceable if collected by an attorney subject to the following requirements:
- If the invoice provides for attorney’s fees in some specific percent of principal and interest owing then it will be valid up to a maximum amount of 15% of the principal and interest owed. Therefore, if your invoice calls for attorney’s fees in the amount of say 25%, you will receive 15%. If your invoice calls for say 10%, you will receive 10%.
- If the invoice provides for attorney’s fees but does not specify an amount, the statute will provide the amount as follows: 15% of the first $500.00 and then 10% of the remaining balance of principal and interest.
- Before attorney’s fees and interest as called for by the invoice and the statute above can be awarded, a notification letter to the debtor is required that puts the debtor on notice that attorney’s fees pursuant to the statute will be sought if payment in full of principal and interest is not made within ten days.
The take away from this statute is two fold: 1) Make sure the invoice has clear language calling for interest and attorney’s fees at a certain rate with the rate of the attorney’s being no more than 15% of principal and interest and that a notification letter giving the debtor ten (10) days to pay all principal and interest before pursuing attorney’s fees pursuant to the statute is sent and the time expires before a lawsuit is filed to collect the debt owed.
If you are in need of an experienced Atlanta business lawyer to review your invoice language or pursue a lawsuit to collect an indebtedness owed to you or your business, contact Spaulding Law today!