Any time a person gets sued, it is not a pleasant experience. This is especially true when you have never been sued before and do not know what to expect from the process.
The good news for those who are sued over unpaid debt is that there are many possible defenses that can be asserted. You do not have to simply lie down and accept the suit without fighting back.
8 Ways to Defend Yourself in a Debt Collection Lawsuit
As experienced debt settlement and debt harassment protection attorneys, we've seen countless cases similar to yours. If you're being sued over an unpaid debt, you do have legal ways to defend yourself.
Here are 8 things our lawyers look for when defending our clients in a debt collection lawsuit:
- Whether the summons and complaint were properly served. If the creditor did not serve you correctly, then the claim cannot go forward.
- If debt is too old to be enforceable. Every state imposes a statute of limitations for when a creditor must initiate a lawsuit. The time starts running from when you first failed to make a required payment. In some states, any payment will restart the statute of limitations clock.
- Whether plaintiff has violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If a creditor sues you, you may be able to assert violations of this Act as a countersuit or setoff in the action that is proceeding against you.
- If creditor does not have standing to sue you. A creditor can only pursue a lawsuit against you if a relationship exists. If you assert that a creditor does not have standing to sue you, the creditor must prove that it has the right to do so. When the debt has been sold, sometimes multiple times, it can be difficult for the creditor to meet this obligation.
- Whether Payment was made on the debt, either in part or in full. Even if you paid another party for the debt, payment is typically a valid defense to a collection action. You can assert this defense even if you only paid part of the debt, because creditors only have the right to sue you for what you owe.
- If the debt involves credit card debt, whether the charges were fraudulent. If you were a victim of identity theft, a stolen credit card, or if a company processed your card improperly, you can use this information as a defense when sued.
- If the debt was discharged in a bankruptcy action. If the debt was included in your bankruptcy schedules and you received a discharge, you are no longer responsible for paying the discharged debt. This collection attempt may be an FDCPA violation.
- If the debt was not yours to begin with. Cases of mistaken identity can occur when you have the same or similar name to someone else that owes a creditor money. Mistaken identity can be asserted as a defense in the event that you are sued. If this debt is on your credit report, it may be an FCRA violation.
Let Our Debt Settlement Attorneys Defend Your Case
If you are currently being pursued by a creditor over an unpaid debt, it is time to take action. We encourage you to reach out today for assistance at 804-282-7900. Our office is headquartered in Richmond, and we proudly serve all of Virginia.