The first thing you need to do if and when you get sued is file an Answer. The summons will tell you that you must “appear” by way of an Answer in 10, 20 or 30 days, “depending on the method of service.”
PLEASE CHECK THE LAW IN YOUR STATE AS YOU MAY ACTUALLY HAVE TO APPEAR IN COURT, AS IN VIRGINIA, IN ORDER TO AVOID A DEFAULT!
You need a lawyer, but if you cannot afford one right away, rather then do nothing and have a judgment entered against you, is to “appear” by filing something!
Many people think this means they have to go to Court and this is incorrect. 90% of all lawsuits end in Default Judgments because the defendant (person getting sued) did not file an Answer.
I recommend you go to the free form I have on my website. Print it out and fill it out as instructed. You must answer the numbered paragraphs on the Complaint by writing them into the appropriate lines in the Answer. The Answer will allow you to preserve your rights and will prohibit a default judgment (i.e. you did not show up) from being entered against you.
Mimic the paperwork you got when you got sued. Answer all the paragraphs of the Complaint by writing the numbers in lines 1, 2 or 3.
Almost 100% of attorneys will deny what is owed because they did not do the calculations and do not know what the basis for the number is…
When you file the Answer that is your “not guilty”. You have the right to make the person suing you (Plaintiff) prove their case, but you must also answer the complaint truthfully.
Make sure you fill in the name and address of the attorney suing you before you bring this paperwork to the Court. Mail it to the attorney suing you right away!
Check out the guide I have drafted on the Avvo profile. This will provide more detailed instructions. If it is helpful remember to indicate that and get the guide read!
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Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the States of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts only and make no attempt to opine on matters of law that are not relevant to those three States. This advice is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation. Facts and laws change and these possible changes will affect the advice provided here. Consult an attorney in your locale before you act on any of this advice. You should not rely on this advice alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney client relationship.
Someone can always sue you. It is up to a Judge to decide whether they have a legitimate claim against you. Of course, if you don't respond properly & promptly to the lawsuit, the creditor will win the lawsuit. So if you receive paperwork indicating that you are being sued, take it seriously and respond right away.
Hope this perspective helps!
The debt collector can always file suit against you for collection of the debt. Only after the creditor has obtained a judgment against from a lawsuit you can any sort of asset seizure take place.
Even if the creditor obtains a judgment, wages cannot be garnished in Texas unless the underlying debt is for a student loan or for child support. Presuming the debt is neither of those things: non-exempt assets - like money you saved up from wages that are in a bank account - can certainly be seized by sophisticated creditors in Texas post-judgment. But not wages directly.
If the collection call was for a consumer debt, then the collector has almost certainly misrepresentated the collection agency's legal rights in violation of the Texas Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and possibly in violation of the Federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. Carefully document the things the collector tells you, find out which representative is saying them, and note the time and the date. This is ammunition for a lawsuit of your own or a counterclaim ("countersuit") against their lawsuit. Simply putting the creditor/collector on notice that you are contemplating a claim against them may get them to back off.
This general opinion DOES NOT create an attorney-client relationship. No communication can ever replace the specific advice of a lawyer. Each person's situation is different, and additional facts can change legal outcomes. You should consult privately with a lawyer if you have a question about a legal dispute.