CALL NOW!
FREE PHONE/VIRTUAL CONSULTATION

What You Should Do If a Creditor Sues You

What To Do If A Creditor Sues You In Tampa, Florida.What to Do If a Creditor Sues

Receiving notice you’re being sued by a creditor can be one of the most frightening experiences you’ll ever have. Suddenly those letters and calls you’ve been receiving have some weight behind them and you’ll have no choice but to take action.

If you’ve been hiding from or ignoring your debt issues up to this point, now is the time to take things seriously. Failing to do so will result in the court finding in favor of the creditor and you’ll automatically face severe consequences.

Make Sure the Lawsuit – and the Debt – is Valid

First things first, don’t panic. Just because you’re being sued doesn’t mean you’ve lost all of your power. You have fewer options now, but you still have options.

Begin by reviewing the paperwork you’ve received regarding the lawsuit. Identify the parties to the suit and make sure you understand who is filing the lawsuit against you.

Is the plaintiff listed in the documents one you recognize as a creditor? If not, does the complaint explain how the plaintiff has come to have the power to file a case against you? Debt can be passed around, so it might take a bit of investigating to determine whether the complaint against you is legitimate.

Note the date you received the notice of the lawsuit from the process server. In most cases, you’ll have only 30 days to respond to the lawsuit, so you need to act relatively fast. If you fail to meet this deadline you’ll lose the case.

Next, You’ll Want to Investigate the Debt.

Assuming it’s legitimate, you’ll want to check the last activity on the account. If the last activity took place years ago there’s a chance the creditor or collector has lost its chance to collect on the debt. Each state has a statute of limitations that prevents collection after a certain period of time. So, for instance, in Florida, the statute of limitations is five years and if you’ve done nothing with the account in five years the collector cannot force you to pay.

If you just received service of a lawsuit on a debt you last made a payment on in 2010, the statute of limitations has passed and you are no longer obligated to pay. All you need to do is file an answer to the lawsuit proving the statute of limitations has passed and you’ll win the suit. To learn more about the statute of limitations on debt collectors, check out this information from The Balance.

Paying anything on debt beyond its statute of limitations reactivates the time frame collectors have to come after you. Avoid doing this at all costs.

Filing Your Answer

Now that you’re familiar with the complaint against you, it’s time to file your answer. Your attorney can help you with this step.

Contesting the lawsuit slows the creditor’s effort to be granted a judgment, so even if you know you are responsible for the debt it’s still important to answer. Doing so buys you time. Filing an answer can also put you in a better position to negotiate a settlement and gather the funds to make a payment.

What’s Next?

Once you’ve taken care of filing your response and come up with a general plan for dealing with this specific debt, it’s time to assess your overall situation.

Was this lawsuit just a single misstep on a credit card that got out of hand or is it a symptom of a growing debt problem? Are additional lawsuits likely to follow? Has an account already been levied?

You might need to take more drastic action than simply responding to this lawsuit and resolving this single matter.

For more information on what to do if you are sued for what you owe on a debt or if you are concerned your financial situation is out of control, contact the Bankruptcy Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813-254-5696 for a free consultation.

Archive

Video Testimonials

Tampa Bankruptcy Law Blog

Are Medical Issues Forcing You Into Bankruptcy?

Many Americans wind up in debt because of medical bills. One of the most common reasons for filing bankruptcy in...
Read More

Law Offices of Robert M. Geller, P.A. Congratulates Danielle Austin For Receiving the Patriot Award from the United States Department of Defense

Award Recognizes Support of Guard and Reserve Members Who Work for the Organization Tampa, Florida, June 29, 2021 – The...
Read More

Is Your 401k or Other Retirement Savings at Risk in Bankruptcy’s Liquidation of Assets?

If you’ve spent years saving for retirement, putting that money at risk when you file for bankruptcy is likely one...
Read More

Tips to Help You Protect Your Assets When You File for Bankruptcy

One of the most intimidating aspects of filing for bankruptcy is protecting your assets. Worrying about whether bankruptcy puts their...
Read More

How Does Bankruptcy Affect Vehicle Ownership? What Assets Can You Keep through the Bankruptcy Process and Does It Affect Your Car?

Many people struggling financially avoid filing for bankruptcy because of concerns about losing important assets like their vehicles. The good...
Read More

Is There a Legal Way to Hide Assets When You File for Bankruptcy?

Filing for bankruptcy can be an overwhelming experience. The relief you receive when you file helps you feel better about...
Read More

Do Bankruptcy Trustees Take Your Savings? What is Considered an Asset in Bankruptcy and How Does It Affect the Money You’ve Saved?

Bankruptcy trustees gain access to a variety of your assets when you file. But what is considered an asset in...
Read More

Can Filing for Bankruptcy Help You Protect Your House?

fiHow filing for bankruptcy affects your home is one of the greatest concerns people have when they consult with bankruptcy...
Read More

Should I Refinance a Student Loan I Can’t Discharge in Bankruptcy?

Student loan debt is overwhelming many people. Could refinancing be the answer to help you avoid bankruptcy if your student...
Read More

Can Student Loan Consolidation Help You Avoid Bankruptcy?

One of the most common questions people have when they consider bankruptcy is “can student debt be discharged in bankruptcy?”...
Read More

Bankruptcy

For The Next 5 Days GET A FREE BOOK About Bankruptcy

Learn More

Infographics

We are A Debt Relief Agency.
We help people file for bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Code

Pay Online Bankruptcy Courses Newsletter Subscription

NACBA Logo avvo1 avvo2 avvo3 LEA BBB Logo RG Seal

Call For A Free Initial Consultation

813.254.5696

Tampa Office

Law Offices of Robert M. Geller, P.A.
807 West Azeele Street
Tampa, FL 33606
T: (813) 254-5696
T: (800) 853-7549
F: (813) 253-3405

Map And Directions

St. Petersburg Office

Law Offices of Robert M. Geller, P.A.
125 5th Street South
(Wells Fargo Financial Center)
2nd Floor, Suite G
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
T: (727) 532-3939

Map And Directions

Pasco Office

23526 State Road 54
Lutz, FL 33559
T: (813) 336-2320

Map And Directions