It is more likely than not that someone in their lifetime will be threatened with having a lawsuit filed against them or that they will be sued, sometimes at no fault of their own. When that happens, you can defend yourself in court, but it is often better to hire a lawyer to defend you.
Have You Received A Court “Complaint?”
Many times, a consumer will think that they simply got a letter in the mail stating that they owe money, but it is actually a court summons and complaint, displaying that they were sued in court. There is a specific time frame for someone who has been sued to be able to respond to a court complaint, and it can be different depending on the level of court you were sued at, so it is good to consult an attorney to be sure that you do not miss a deadline.
What Can Happen if You Do Not Respond
If you do not respond to a complaint, it is possible that the court could declare you in default, and that the company that is suing you could try to get a default judgment entered against you, where the court declares that you owe what you were sued for. The court might also declare that you owe the attorney’s fees of the other party, court costs and interest in regard to the balance of the alleged debt.
Was It A Mistake?
Sometimes, when you are sued for a debt and are declared by the party suing you, the plaintiff, to be the debtor, it is in error. People are often sued for debts that they do not owe. It is possible that the debt might have been incurred in your name, but you were not the person who made the charges, because you were a victim of identity theft. You might have already filed a police report and alerted the credit bureaus to this but were still wrongfully sued by the current creditor in their attempt to collect on the alleged debt.
What Is A Third-Party Debt Collection Agency?
Many lawsuits against consumers regarding debts allegedly owed are initiated by a third-party debt collection agency, depending on the state, if it allows a debt collection agency to file suit on behalf of the original creditor or the current creditor the debt has been assigned to. Often, however, the lawsuit has been initiated by a debt collection law firm representing the original or current creditor. Sometimes when someone complains to the other party suing them that they were wrongfully sued, those complaints are ignored.
That is another reason why it is good to have an attorney advocating on your behalf, who can display to the other party in the case that is suing you, or to the court itself, that it is not your alleged debt, and that you were wrongfully sued. Sometimes the amount that you are being sued for is inflated and in error as well, such as if the company that is suing you is including in the balance claimed interest that they or the creditor who owned the debt before them were not allowed to charge.
Other Available Defenses
You may also have different defenses that you can utilize if you are sued. You could have been sued in the wrong county, which could entitle you to monetary compensation of up to $1,000 under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which could be helpful for you if you are being sued for less than that amount.
For a violation of the FDCPA, you could also be entitled to have your attorney’s fees and costs paid. You could also be entitled to similar compensation if you are sued past the statute of limitations for the debt, which is the amount of time that the company suing you has to sue you, which can vary based on the laws of your specific state. In Massachusetts, for example, the statute of limitations to be sued for a debt is six years from when the debt was incurred, or the last payment made by the debtor. In most states, the statute of limitations to sue to collect a debt ranges between four and six years.
They Could Owe You Compensation
You could also be entitled to compensation if you were sued for a debt that you do not owe. It is always good to challenge the plaintiff’s ability to sue you, which is commonly referred to as challenging their standing to sue, if you have reason to believe that they do not have the authority to sue you. A collection agency or current creditor who bought the debt from the previous creditor must prove that they have the right to sue you, by proving via a contract that the debt was assigned to them and so on. If they cannot do that, the case against you may be dismissed by the court if the judge does not believe that they have the right to sue you.
Contact Us With Questions
If you believe you were wrongfully sued for a debt or that you were rightfully sued but that it is better for a lawyer to represent you rather than to represent yourself in court, please contact Rights Protection Law Group, PLLC. We at Rights Protection Law Group, PLLC, will hear your story and see what we can do to help and develop a strategy to help you regarding the case that was filed against you. It is better to tackle the lawsuit head-on, rather than to ignore it. We are here to help.