What I Need to Do When a Creditor Sues You
Consumer Protection Attorney
Getting sued by a creditor is unpleasant, but there is a path that leads to a better outcome than just accepting the lawsuit. First, don’t panic. It sounds cliché, but this happens all the time and debt collectors count on the fact that the average person will not know what to do. Hiring a consumer protection attorney who is experienced in dealing with debt collectors should be your first course of action. Do your research and make sure your attorney is an expert in the field and handles these types of cases on a regular basis.
When you are served with the lawsuit, the worst thing you can do is to ignore it. In fact, the sooner you contact an attorney, the better he/she will be able to serve you. In some states, the debt collector may be able to garnish your paycheck if you fail to respond and a judge rules in their favor. You have a right to challenge the debt collector’s right to sue you. Did you actually incur this debt? Can the company suing you prove that? Again, here is where your attorney’s expertise will come into play. Attorneys that do this type of work are very familiar with the debt collectors and their attorneys. Your attorney will try to show evidence in court that the debt collector cannot prove they own the debt. If they can do this successfully, the lawsuit will be dismissed.
If the debt collector can prove that you owe the debt, you may still be able to settle for a lesser amount than the total you are being sued on. Many times, debt collectors will allow consumers to settle for pennies on the dollar. Depending on whether the debt collector is the original creditor or a third-party debt buyer, they may accept as little as 40-50% of the total owed. They generally also provide payment plan options, so you do not have to pay one lump sum. Again, your attorney will be able to help negotiate that settlement because he/she will know how to deal with the debt collector and is familiar with their tactics.
If you are currently being sued on a debt whether you believe it is yours or not, don’t stick your head in the sand. Time is of the essence, and you should contact a consumer protection attorney for a consultation today!