What Happens If Someone Sues You and You Have No Money?

George Simons

January 13, 2021

Summary: If you're sued for a debt but have no money, use SoloSuit to respond in 15 minutes and win your lawsuit.

Being served with a debt collection lawsuit can be an anxiety-inducing experience, especially if you are already struggling to stay afloat financially. The prospect of going to court and defending yourself against a large debt collection company can be intimidating and potentially overwhelming, and that fear is often exacerbated when you are down to your last dime and unable to pay if you lose the legal battle.

What Can Happen If the Debt Collection Company Wins in Their Lawsuit Against You

If an adverse judgment is entered against you and you lack the financial resources to pay, the judgment basically becomes an additional debt that will need to be repaid. In many instances, the plaintiff will take steps to try and obtain compensation from you in one form or another.

One option potentially available to the plaintiff is initiating a wage garnishment. This is routinely pursued if you are gainfully employed and receiving income from a job.

However, it is important to note that if you only earn minimum wage or receive income through social security or disability, a debt collector is prohibited from accessing these funds. If, on the other hand, you are paid through a 9-to-5 job or have a salaried position, a debt collector could garnish up to 25 percent of your earnings.

In addition to wage garnishment, a debt collector will likely try to liquidate funds maintained in your bank account or checking account. Though, if you have a retirement account like an IRA or 401(k), creditors cannot liquidate those funds. Nevertheless, the funds in your checking account could be accessed and drained to pay a portion of the judgment.

Attempt to Negotiate with the Plaintiff

If you lack the funds to pay the adverse judgment in full, you could reach out to the plaintiff and try to negotiate a post-judgment settlement. This may be worthwhile since, at the end of the day, the plaintiff wants to receive some form of compensation and may be open to accepting a lower amount, or a payment plan, so they are actually compensated. Whether the plaintiff is willing to accept a lower amount or is open to setting up a payment plan depends largely on the creditor and the amount owed.

Consider Bankruptcy

In many instances, if you are sued and lose the lawsuit, you may be in a position to file for bankruptcy, depending on the amount owed from the suit. The debt from an adverse judgment can usually be erased if you take the proper steps to formally declare for bankruptcy.

Many people are frightened by the prospect of filing for bankruptcy. However, it is important to understand that bankruptcy can actually provide statutory protections for your personal property when you are being pursued by a debt collector on an adverse judgment. For example, if you declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your creditors no longer have the right to try and collect from you (which can provide both financial and psychological benefits since you should stop receiving hounding phone calls and correspondence).

Bankruptcy is generally not recommended if you are trying to address a single debt. Instead, bankruptcy should only be considered after conducting a thorough review of your finances, income, and debts. You should also make sure to review and utilize the resources available through SoloSuit.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.

How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.

Respond with SoloSuit

"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James

Start My Answer

>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit: A Student Solution To Give Utah Debtors A Fighting Chance

If you need assistance on how to best respond to a debt collection lawsuit, consider utilizing SoloSuit. What is SoloSuit? Take a moment to review these FAQs to learn more.

(How to stop receiving calls from Covington Credit)

Important Takeaways on What To Do If You are Sued and Have No Money to Pay the Judgment

Here are some key points on what you need to do if you are served with a debt collection lawsuit and lack the funds to pay an adverse judgment:

  • Respond to the Complaint and see if there are viable defenses to challenge the veracity of the lawsuit
  • If an adverse judgment is entered against you, consider reaching out to the debt collector to try and negotiate a lower amount.
  • Review your different checking and savings accounts since there is a chance a debt collector could try to seize your funds and/or garnish your wages.

Best of Luck!

How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection Guides for Other States

Here's a list of guides for other states.

All 50 states.

Guides on How to Beat Every Debt Collector

Being sued by a different debt collector? We're making guides on how to beat each one.

Other helpful articles

Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.

Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.

Why do debt collectors block their phone numbers?

How long do debt collectors take to respond to debt validation letters?

What are the biggest debt collector companies in the US?

Is Zombie Debt Still a Problem in 2019

How to File an FDCPA Complaint Against Your Debt Collector (Ultimate Guide)

SoloSuit FAQ

Tips on you can to file an FDCPA lawsuit against a debt collection agency

Advice on how to answer a summons for debt collection.

Effective strategies for how to get back on track after a debt lawsuit