What Happens if You Get Sued by a Debt Collector

there is a courtFiling a civil lawsuit against the debtor is one among the wide range of tactics available for debt collectors, when trying to collect a debt. In case the debt collector wins, the debtor may be held responsible for paying not only the debt itself, but for court fees and attorney costs as well. Not an attractive prospect at all, is it? However, you can prepare your defense, if you understand what your rights are how the process works. And your defense begins with
answering the summons. Debt collector is required to notify the debtor of the court date in the form of a judicial summons. The debtor must answer and return to the court the summons within the time frame regulated by state law.

When filing this answer, make sure to provide your defense or reason in support of your belief that you are not responsible for the debt. For instance, your debt being past the statute of limitations for collection actions may be such a defense. You must bring to the court on the appointed date all the documentation or any other evidence that proves your claim.

Court judgment and its execution: In case the debt collector succeeds in proving your liability for the debt, the court will issue its judgment in their favor. After this the collection agency can pursue attachment of your bank account or wage garnishment in order to collect what you owe. To do so your creditor will have to write garnishment or a writ with the court. Subject to seizure are individual as well as joint bank accounts. Wage garnishment for debts, however, is not allowed in North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Pennsylvania as to the date of this article’s publication.

Claiming of Exemptions: When your creditor tries to attach your bank account, you can file with the court a claim of exemption, if you have exempt deposits. Federal law provides for the following wages to be exempt from garnishment for debt collection lawsuits: Social Security benefits, veterans’ benefits, Supplemental Security Income, FEMA disaster relief, military survivors’ benefits, student assistance, disability benefits, foreign service retirement, merchant seamen’s wages and railroad workers’ compensation. Certain states allow even for claiming an exemption for unemployment benefits, workers’ compensation payments, alimony or child support payments.

This is important to know:

•If you fail to respond to a summons in a debt collection lawsuit, the court may issue its judgment against you.

•If you weren’t properly notified of the court date, you can file a motion to vacate the summary judgment.

•You can contact your creditor directly and work out a payment plan or settlement without going to court.

•If you have no means to repay the debt you owe, you can file bankruptcy. This will make your creditors cease collection actions against you for the period your petition is being processed.

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