What To Do If You’ve Been Sued
Having the Sheriff at your door is not a pleasant experience. Help, I’ve Been Sued. A lawsuit should not be ignored, but there is no need to panic. A Civil Lawsuit (unlike a Criminal Charge) will not lead to jail: Pennsylvania abolished debtors’ prison many years ago. Wage Garnishment is restricted in Pennsylvania to certain types 9f debts.
You should carefully consider your options, including this particular claim, but also considering your overall financial situation.
If you are overwhelmed by unsecured debts, such as Credit Cards, or personal loans, you may want to consider solutions that will deal with all your financial problems, rather than just a single creditor.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Defend A Civil Lawsuit?
For most people, being served with a lawsuit is an unfamiliar and frightening experience. It’s not the end of the world. There are many ways to resolve a lawsuit.In both the state and federal courts, there are Rules of Procedure, which require that responses to a lawsuit be filed within certain time periods, and in particular forms. Unless you are familiar with these Rules, an Attorney can assist you to make certain that you don’t lose by default.
I have represented both Plaintiffs and Defendants, and will use my best efforts to bring your case to a successful conclusion.
The person who files the lawsuit has to prove the allegations of their Complaint. In a debt-collection case, they must show that there was a debt, that the person suing is the current owner of the debt (many accounts, particularly in credit card cases, are sold to debt buyers), and establish the amount that is owed. This can be done through business records, or at times, by admissions from the Defendant.
Filing a Counter-Suit
If you have a claim against the person suing you, for example, a claim for Debt Collection Harassment, or under Pennsylvania’s Consumer Protection Law, a counter-claim can be filed to recover something from them, or at least offset what they are claiming from you.
Negotiating a settlement
Collection cases are often settled, either for a lump sum payment, for less than the full amount owed, or by agreeing to a payment plan. Whether this is a wise decision depends on the nature of the case, and your overall financial position.
Filing a bankruptcy petition
One solution to collection lawsuits is to file a bankruptcy petition. When a bankruptcy is filed, all other legal proceedings are stayed. If a bankruptcy discharge is entered, the debt is no longer owed, and the collection case will be dismissed. If the total amount of debt is too large to realistically pay off, Bankruptcy may be an option.
In Blair County, there is a special Court which was created to handle cases involving Credit Cards. Credit Card Court provides an opportunity to meet with the other lawyer, obtain information about their claim, and negotiate a settlement.
What To Do About Debt Collection Harassment?
Getting collection calls is usually unpleasant. There are ways deal with it. Depending on the situation, an attorney might intervene on your behalf, send a “cease and desist” letter, or settle the case. If the debt collector has violated the law, it may be possible to file a complaint against them.