Summary: Were you served with a debt collection lawsuit? Not sure if the lawsuit is legit? Here's how to find out if you're being sued for real.
30% of Americans have dealt with a debt that has been sent to a collection agency. This equates to millions of people, and if you are one of these people then you are at risk of being sued. When a lawsuit begins, it will include a summons and complaint. This should explain why you are being sued, and for how much. Despite this, you might be served with a lawsuit without ever knowing.
Whether someone handed the summons to a person in your home, or it was mailed to you and you had moved, the creditor may not have served you. If this were to happen then you might still be within a legal situation and have no idea. If you believe that a lawsuit may have been placed against you without your knowledge, there are steps you can take to find this out.
Respond to a debt collection lawsuit in 15 minutes with SoloSuit.
Visit the court clerk
The first step in finding out whether or not you are being sued is to visit the court clerk. This should be the court in your county of residence. It can help you to find out if anyone has filed a lawsuit against you because the court clerk can conduct a record search for any pending lawsuits or judgments.
If there is a case that has been filled you must find out before the court has placed a default judgment against you. Despite this, if you find out that there is a default judgment against you, the court clerk can help to give you this information. They should be able to provide:
- Name of the plaintiff
- Amount you owe
- Interest that's been added to the bill
The clerk should also be able to explain whether or not the judge has ordered a wage garnishment or a lien against your property.
If you have a lawsuit pending
If a lawsuit has been filed against you but there has not been a default judgment issued, you are in luck. You will need to move quickly, to respond to the lawsuit. In many states, there is a 20-day deadline, while in others it can be anywhere from 14 to 20 days, or up to 30. This will depend on which state the lawsuit was filed in.
You do have a few options to attempt to fight the lawsuit. One of your best options is attempting to negotiate a settlement. This should be done only if the debt belongs to you. If you believe that you do not have a lot of time, then you should file an answer to the lawsuit immediately, and then send a copy to whoever is suing you. Then begin working on your defense.
Use SoloSuit make the right affirmative defense.
Generate your defense to the lawsuit
There are a few affirmative defenses that you can use should you have time to defend yourself against a lawsuit.
- Improper service of the summons: Stating that the summons was not delivered nor received by you.
- Identify theft: If you believe someone generated the debt while pretending to be you.
- Expiration of the statute of limitations: Debts are considered time-barred when the statute of limitations has expired. The period depends on the state you live in but typically ranges from three to five years. When the statute expires, it means that you can no longer be sued for the debt at its expiration.
- Lack of standing: There is no legal explanation or proof that you owe the debt.
- Debt has been satisfied: If you believe that you have already paid the debt, then you should not be able to be sued for it again.
- The amount is incorrect: If you believe that the debt amount is incorrect, then you can ask for proof of the correct amount.
- Missing Paperwork: If the debt collector does not have the chain of custody, then they cannot prove that they own the debt and that you owe it.
If you have received a default judgment
If you go to the Clerk Court and they tell you that there is a judgment that has been placed against you, then you need to act. If you were never actually served, then you will need to file a motion to set aside the default judgment. This can be based on a motion of a substantial defect because you were never actually served. This defense can be used in many situations, but especially if the papers were someone else at your home and you never received them.
If you discover that a default judgment has been placed against you and the judge is unwilling to throw it out, then you need to re-evaluate your situation. If you can, attempt to negotiate a settlement with the creditor or debt collector. This may allow you to settle the debt for less than you owe.
Avoid a default judgment by filing a response with SoloSuit.
Filing for bankruptcy
Although it is not recommended unless you are in a dire situation, another option is to file for bankruptcy. It is not the right choice for everyone, but if you are someone who has multiple debts, it may be a good option for you. If a creditor has begun garnishing your wages, this will stop once the bankruptcy is approved.
If you have a lawsuit against you, you need to find out as soon as possible. This can be done easily through the Clerk of County. You should also look into responding as soon as possible. This will help you to buy more time, and even possibly negotiate a settlement. You can at least come up with a good response and defense to the lawsuit. Always remember, when in doubt, ask for proof of your responsibility for the debt.
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
>>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
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