A Reputable Bankruptcy Lawyer in Denver Can Help You Avoid Costly Mistakes
If your debt piles up, you’re in danger of being sued. The creditor – the person or company to whom you owe money – may file a lawsuit to collect the money owed to them. This may be in an effort to collect excessive medical bill debt, credit card dark, back rent on from a broken lease, or other forms of debt.
Getting sued can understandably be a scary experience. But you do have options.
First, it’s important to consult a debt settlement attorney like Wink & Wink to avoid making costly mistakes or making your situation worse. The problem won’t just get away on its own, and your response or lack thereof can cost you. That’s why it’s essential you work with a respected bankruptcy law firm.
Here’s what often happens when you’re the target of a debt collection lawsuit.
Summons and Complaint
You’ll first receive two documents, a summons and the complaint.
- Summons – This document contains administrative information about the lawsuit, such as basic instructions and the court where it was filed. Be sure to look at the return date, which is the date the creditor will win a judgment against you if you don’t take any action. You simply can’t ignore this date! This date lets you know how much time you have to decide how you want to respond, as you explore your options with your debt settlement attorney.
- Complaint – This document summarizes the reasons why you’re being sued and how much money you’re being sued for. If you’re being sued by a debt collector, rather than directly by the creditor itself, this document will also share the identity of the original creditor.
There may be additional documents included alongside the summons and complaint. These may include forms for you to fill out. When reviewing and filling out these documents, it’s particularly crucial to have a debt settlement law firm there, such as Wink & Wink, to provide legal guidance so you can avoid costly mistakes.
- An answer form may be included, where you can explain any reasons why you should win the lawsuit rather than the creditor. If you’re planning to fill out this form, you definitely should consult a debt attorney to minimize risk. If you don’t respond in a manner that can be interpreted for your defense, the creditor may get a judgment despite your answer.
- There may also be a document asking questions about where you work and what bank you use. Once you fill these out, it becomes much easier for the creditor to collect the money from you if they do win the lawsuit. This form is likely optional and, if so, should only be completed if part of a settlement agreement. However, it is important to understand that you may be served interrogatories after the creditor obtains a judgment against you. These interrogatories also ask questions about your income and assets. Unlike the initial documents which accompany a summons, however, interrogatories must be completed and returned to the creditors attorney or you can be held in contempt of court and a warrant for your arrest may be issued. Again, consult a lawyer, such as Denver-based bankruptcy law firm Wink & Wink, to discuss your options whenever you’re served legal documents related to a lawsuit.
Debt Mediation or Filing for Bankruptcy
An experienced bankruptcy law firm like Wink & Wink can help you decide your options.
If you file an answer, settling the debt may be the best route. Perhaps the creditor is willing to work with you on a payment plan to pay off the debt over time. Or maybe they’ll accept a smaller lump-sum and call it good. Most creditors don’t want to engage in costly, time-intensive legal battles, so they may be willing to work with you on a process to repay your debt.
Or maybe filing for bankruptcy is the best route if your debt is too high and you can’t see a way to repay it. This can help you avoid paying some or all of the debt.
There are two types of personal bankruptcy:
- Chapter 7 bankruptcy – This discharges all the unsecured debts you owe. This can include back rent, medical bills, credit card debts, and more. You will then not have to pay back those debts you owed.
- Chapter 13 bankruptcy – This also discharges your unsecured debts – which again can include back rent, medical bills, credit card debt, and more – but may require that you pay some of this debt through a three- to five-year repayment plan.
Wink & Wink can determine the best course of action based on your particular case.
Outcomes of Debt Collection Lawsuits
If you lose the case or simply don’t take any action, the outcomes can vary. You may have a portion of your wages garnished, which can be up to 25% taken out of each paycheck in Colorado, to go toward repaying the debt. This can end once you’ve paid off the debt, worked out a different debt settlement agreement with the creditor, or filed for bankruptcy.
The creditor may also be entitled to seize money from your bank accounts to go toward the debt. You could also have some of your assets seized or a lien put on your property.
Denver Bankruptcy Lawyers Can Help
Being sued is a scary prospect. To avoid making costly mistakes in your debt collection lawsuit, it’s important you consult a bankruptcy lawyer with years of experience. Wink & Wink can explain your options, help you fill out and file the paperwork in the smartest way possible, and be there to provide guidance during the legal process. Call Wink & Wink at 303-410-1720, or fill out our online questionnaire, to get started on your free consultation and get the help you need today.