If you are sued in state or federal court, you must respond by filing an answer to the lawsuit. Failure to do so will result in what is called a default judgment against you. A default judgment is entered if someone is sued and does not answer the complaint. If an answer is not timely filed according to state and federal court rules, then that will mean a person loses automatically under the lawsuit. Once a person loses a lawsuit, either by default judgment for failing to answer or by fighting it and losing, then a judgment will enter against that person. With a judgment, a creditor is entitled to do several things in order to collect on its judgment debt. The creditor can garnish wages by taking up to 25% of the take home pay of an individual’s paycheck. The creditor can also garnish any bank accounts. Additionally, the creditor can attempt the seizure of both personal and real property. Finally, a creditor can record a judgment lien against the person in the county where he or she lives which will encumber the real estate that he or she owns for a long period of time. Additionally, this judgment lien will accrue interest at the rate of interest according to the lawsuit or at judgment rate of interest pursuant to state law.
What to Do If You’re Being Sued
Our advice to anyone who is sued is to immediately obtain competent counsel and make sure an answer is timely filed to the complaint. Since the person being sued is the Defendant, it is up to the Plaintiff (the one bringing the lawsuit) to prove its case. As a result, it is our position that people have an absolute right to deny the allegations and demand that strict proof be provided by the creditor in order to be successful in its claim in court. With regard to someone being sued by a creditor, a debt collector, or a debt buyer, that entity must prove its case. Individuals have an absolute right to demand proof and can also raise a series of affirmative defenses in trying to defend the case. Examples of affirmative defenses and counterclaims may fall under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Truth in Lending Act (TILA), Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the debt has been paid, the person does not owe the debt, that the debt itself is beyond the statute of limitations, that the debt collector or debt buyer does not have the right to bring the case, etc.
You should seek help immediately upon receiving the suit. Do not wait. If you would like to contact one of our attorneys to discuss your situation, we offer a free consultation visit. We would be happy to explore all of your defenses and options with you with regard to the lawsuit.