What do I do if I was sued by a creditor?
The best thing anyone can do when a creditor files a lawsuit is to follow up with the case. So many times, I have seen people contact an attorney or act on a lawsuit after it is too late. This leads to questions like “what if I was not served correctly,” “how do I stop a wage garnishment or bank levy,” “what do I do if there was a judgment before my court date,” etc.
Do not run from the lawsuit
I have heard a number of situations where people will do everything they can to hide from a creditor lawsuit by not answering the door when the person trying to serve court documents shows up, or going to lunch when they show up at the place of employment.
If you do this, not only will the creditor continue the lawsuit without serving you directly, but you might not even receive the lawsuit. Creditors can do what is called substitute service. This is serving you by other means, such as leaving the lawsuit with someone at your home, leaving it with your employer, posting an ad in the local newspaper etc.
After you have been served by a creditor personally or by substitute service
Assuming you are following up with your lawsuit, you can either respond to the lawsuit on your own or talk to an attorney to provide you with more guidance and options. If you are in financial trouble, you can also discuss your situation with a bankruptcy attorney.
In most cases, if you are being sued by a credit card or finance company, then you are probably in need of financial options. However, don’t see an attorney before it is too late.
Garnishment, bank levies and liens on your real estate
If you do nothing and wait until the case is over, you may not even realize it but the creditor can give your employer wage garnishment papers. In some states, creditors can garnish up to 25 percent of your income. Additionally, creditors can garnish your wages or put liens on your home.
This is why it is important to follow up on creditor lawsuits, or any lawsuits. Many attorneys provide free initial consultations. Courts have workshops for people to help them through lawsuits on their own. There are also a number of pro-bono programs.
If you have been sued and know you can’t afford the lawsuit or the debt that is owed, you always have an option to speak with a bankruptcy attorney. Simply discussing your financial options with a bankruptcy attorney is a step in dealing with your lawsuit. Bankruptcy can not only get your out of debt owed through the lawsuit, but can also eliminate all other unsecured debt.