Are you getting sued over an unpaid credit card debt? If so, here are 9 things our Texas debt settlement attorney wants you to know:
1. They have to serve you before the lawsuit can go forward
A constable or process server will go to your home or place of business to try to serve you with the lawsuit. If, for any reason, the constable or process server cannot serve you in person, then they will get court permission to serve you by some other method, such as by certified mail or by taping a copy of the lawsuit to your door.
2. It is possible that you could “get served” without actually receiving a copy of the lawsuit
If the process server tapes a copy of the lawsuit to your door, it could fall off and blow away. If the creditor serves you by certified mail, all you will receive is a notice from the post office that you need to pick up a letter. If the lawsuit papers fall off your front door and blow away, or if you don’t go to the post office to pick up your letter, you are still considered “served” even though you never received a copy of the lawsuit.
3. You only have 2-4 weeks to file your Answer
In Justice Court, (“JP Court” or “Small Claims Court”), you have 14 calendar days to file your Answer from the date you get served.
In County and District Courts, you have 21-27 days to file your Answer from the date you get served. To determine your deadline, count forward 20 calendar days from the date you get served and then go to the first Monday after that. So if Day 20 falls on Sunday, then your answer is due the next day, Day 21. If Day 20 falls on a Monday, then you go to the following Monday, Day 27.
4. If you don’t file your Answer on time, they can get a Default Judgment against you
If you don’t file your Answer by the deadline, then they can get a default judgment against you at any time. If that happens, then your case is over, you lost, and they have a judgment against you for the full amount of the debt plus interest, court costs, and legal fees.
5. If you file your Answer on time, you will get a court date later
If you file your Answer, then the court will schedule a trial (“court date”) at some point in the future. Your court date could be a few months later, or it could be 2-3 years later. It just depends on the court.
6. You may need to do “Discovery”
“Discovery” is the overall term for the different ways parties to a lawsuit can obtain information and documents from the other parties involved in the lawsuit. Discovery can be “Requests for Admission” or “Requests for Production” or “Interrogatories” or “Disclosures.” If the creditor sends you “Discovery Requests,” and you don’t respond to them on time and in the correct manner, you will concede your lawsuit and almost certainly end up with a judgment against you.
7. If you don’t get a debt collection attorney, then you will have to represent yourself in court
If you represent yourself, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for you to defeat the lawsuit. Most likely, you will end up with a judgment against you for the full amount of the debt, plus interest, court costs, and legal fees.
8. Believe it or not, it may be possible to defeat your lawsuit
In many cases, even though our client owes the money, the creditor does not have the documentation they need to prove their case in court. If the creditor does not have the proper documentation, then the lawsuit can be defeated. In fact, we have successfully defeated over 3000 debt lawsuits, which is over 60% of the case we have handled.
9. You should schedule a free consultation
Give us a call at 844.334.4566, or fill out the contact form. The consultation is completely free, and there is no obligation.