If you are struggling financially, the last thing you need is a lawsuit from a debt collector or creditor. The stress from not being able to keep up on your bills can be overwhelming. Add a lawsuit to the mix, and you might be wondering how you can handle the strain. If this sounds like you, contact me for a free consultation immediately. As a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney, I have helped hundreds of families in Littleton, Aurora, or Centennial get a fresh financial start for over 20 years. Call me: we will sort through the lawsuit and your finances to determine the best plan to discharge your debt. It is not too late.
What to Do if You are Facing a Lawsuit
Believe it or not, lawsuits from debt collectors are common across the United States. In fact, many debt collection law firms file hundreds of lawsuits a day. This is because they know most people won’t respond. Here are a few steps to take if you are being sued by a debt collection agency:
1. Respond Quickly
If you receive a “summons and complaint” in the mail or by process server, you need to respond quickly. Often, people get these notices, know they can’t pay, and figure they might as well not do anything. This is not a wise option, however. The debt collection agency will obtain a default judgment against you, which allows them to take money from your bank account, or begin garnishing your wages. And, debt collectors often add additional fees to the balance, such as court costs, interest, or attorney’s fees. You must respond quickly to a lawsuit. Even a two-sentence response may get them to back down or offer a favorable settlement. It is wise to consult a lawyer before responding, however, because it is important that you don’t admit liability.
2. Demand Proof
The debt collector is required to prove you are liable for the debt in question. Often, the lawsuit won’t contain adequate proof, because debts can change hands many times.
3. Statute of Limitations
In most states, there is a limit to the amount of years the debt collector has to sue for a debt. But, debt collection agencies often ignore this and sue anyway. In some cases, if you are past the maximum amount of time, the creditor will lose the lawsuit. This is why it is wise to consult a lawyer before making a payment on an old debt: doing so could start the clock ticking again, allowing for a lawsuit or garnishment.
4. Challenge the Lawsuit
Because credit card debt is bought, you can often challenge a creditor’s ability to bring a lawsuit. They are required to prove they have a right to sue by providing evidence they own the debt.
5. Bring Your Own Lawsuit
You can sue debt collectors back if they have violated provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (learn more about possible violations). It is wise to contact an affordable bankruptcy lawyer to look at your case to determine the possibility of suing a creditor.
Don’t Hesitate to Contact a Lawyer
If you have been served with a lawsuit in Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, or Parker, don’t hesitate to contact a bankruptcy lawyer. Often, people don’t think they will be able to afford the payment, or they are embarrassed. I have been a bankruptcy lawyer for over 20 years: I offer a free consultation, and I have helped many good people overcome lawsuits and overwhelming debt. And, if you are being sued for a large amount of money, filing for bankruptcy can get you a fresh start. Filing for bankruptcy puts an “automatic stay” into effect which halts debt collection efforts – including lawsuits.