What to Do when You Get Sued
There are a number of ways that you might find out that you’ve been sued. A collection company might call you. There might be something posted to your door. You might receive something in the mail. You might have a sheriff or process server show up at your house. In the worst-case scenario, you might find that your paycheck was garnished or your bank account frozen.
All of these situations are frightening and confusing. It can be truly hard to know what to do. Here are a few rules of thumb.
Do not call the attorney that filed the lawsuit. You need to be very careful about what you say and who you say it to. This person is working against you and is not someone for you to trust.
Gather paperwork. Find the court that the lawsuit was filed in. Call the court clerk there and find out what you need to do to get copies of everything related to the lawsuit. Then, find all the paperwork that you have or can find online relating to the account that you are being sued for. You’ll need to know when you last made a payment, when you last received a statement, and what the balance was.
Do not ignore it. When confronted by a lawsuit, many people want to just ignore it. They think that the situation will just improve with time. That’s entirely incorrect. You need to respond quickly to keep the situation from growing much, much worse. Usually when someone is shocked to find his wages garnished, it’s because he ignored a notice from a year or more before.
Contact an attorney. You can call my office, or you can check into other resources such as the National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA). In any case, you need to at least talk to a lawyer to figure out your options, strategies and deadlines. Many attorneys, including myself, will be glad to discuss your case with you for free.
When this happens to you, don’t be scared. The situation can be trying, but it can also be resolved.