Skip to main content

Sued in Will County IL small claims court. I have only exempt property and am self employed. Do I try to settle?

Plainfield, IL |

I read the definitions of exempt property in Illinois, and I have 2 dependants. I am self-employed consulting for only one firm not in this state. I earn only enough to cover my mortgage and utilities. Whatever is left covers food. I can't file bankruptcy until September, and I don't have funds for an attorney. This is for an unsecured credit card issued by Capital One. I have not used or paid on the card for over 1 year. I physically can't appear in court due to a doccumented medical condition. Very frightened.

The suit is in small claims court and for approximately $2800.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3


Can't get an exemption (presuming you even qualify) unless you or an attorney appear in court. So either retain a lawyer or show up, because once they move to collect on the judgment it'll be hell trying to get it straightened out (Or worse, too late). Contact the Will County Bar Association or Prairie State Legal Services for assistance.


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.”


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!

Good Luck!

REQUEST: Please give this answer a "thumbs up"(below) if you find it valuable.

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.


If you fail to show up for court on the return date, the court will enter a default judgment against you. The judgment will show up on your credit report - and it will permit the plaintiff's attorney to initiate collection proceedings against you to enforce the judgment.

I recommend you contact the plaintiff's attorney and explain your circumstances. You may be able to negotiate a settlement and avoid appearing in court. In Will County, it seems as though many of the unsecured credit card debt cases can be settled - but only if the defendant (debtor) is willing to agree to a payment plan. It sounds like that may be difficult for you. Nevertheless, if you are unable to hire an attorney and unable to attend court, you should reach out to the plaintiff's attorney.

Please note that this is not legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The post is only an opinion. You should speak to an attorney for further information. The poster is licensed only in IL.

Please visit for more information about our law firm and services. If you found this post useful, please remember to vote it up. Thank you.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer