Many people in Florida are experiencing financial difficulty and are being sued by their creditors. As tempting as it may be for you to ignore all correspondence from them, a lawsuit is one form of communication you should never ignore. Knowing what to do if you are being sued by a creditor can keep you from making your financial situation more complicated.
Read over the summons
Read the lawsuit. Make sure all information listed is true. If you have some money to resolve the debt, you should contact the creditors to see if they would be willing to accept payments or a settlement in exchange for dropping the lawsuit. Even if a creditor refuses to accept any arrangements, you should not ignore the lawsuit.
File an answer
Pay close attention to the dates and deadlines listed. You should file an answer to defend yourself against the lawsuit by the deadline that is stated within the document. Your answer should explain to the courts if you agree or disagree with the complaint the creditor has filed against you. Do not make any false or presumptuous statements. If you are not sure about the amount the creditor says you owe, the account number or any other information, be sure to include that in your answer. If you do not answer a creditor lawsuit, a default judgment is automatically entered against you which can result in wage and bank account garnishments.
Appear in court
Gather any proof and documents you have regarding the debt mentioned in the lawsuit so you can take them to court. You should also take documentation showing proof of your financial situation and hardship. Things like unemployment letters, proof of disability and other supporting information can help show the courts that you do not have the ability to pay.
The creditor's burden
The creditors must prove that you owe the debt they are suing you for. No matter how old that debt may be, do not assume that the creditors can or cannot prove its legitimacy. There are many factors that can affect the ability to prove a debt. If they are unsuccessful in proving that the debt is yours or that you are the correct person, or encounter other difficulties, the courts will dismiss the lawsuit.
If you are in no position to negotiate with your creditors, are receiving demands for payments and lawsuits notices or end up with a judgment against you from the lawsuit, you may benefit from bankruptcy. To better understand your options, you should discuss your situation with a bankruptcy attorney.