Being served with a collection lawsuit can be intimidating. While many people are tempted to ignore it because they don’t want to deal with the hassle or they assume they owe the debt anyway so there is nothing they can do. However, failing to respond to the lawsuit can result in the creditor obtaining a default judgment against you. This means that the court assumes that you agree with everything the creditor alleged in the petition. Once the plaintiff is granted a judgment against you, the creditor or debt collector can commence collection efforts against you.
A creditor who has a judgment against you can attempt to collect money from you by garnishing your wages, levying your bank account, and/or recording a judgment lien against your house. In contrast, if you respond to the lawsuit, you provide yourself the opportunity to have the lawsuit dismissed or negotiate a settlement of the debt for a lower amount.
It is common for borrowers who are struggling financially to want to avoid the cost of retaining an attorney. However, many studies have revealed that the vast majority of debtors who have a default judgment entered against them did not have a lawyer assisting them in defending their collection lawsuit. In other words, simply by having an attorney represent you in the lawsuit can drastically increase the likelihood of obtaining a successful outcome.
It is important to understand that even if you are pretty certain you owe the debt to the plaintiff, there are still numerous valid defenses that might be available to you. Whatever you do, don’t ignore a lawsuit. If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you fight a debt collection lawsuit, contact one of our seasoned bankruptcy attorneys to schedule your appointment.