If you were recently served with a lawsuit by a credit card issuer or a debt collection agency, you need to see an attorney. In Washington it does not matter whether or not there is a case number on the lawsuit summons and/or complaint. You have 20 days to serve a written answer on the attorney who has sued you, or that attorney can formally file a summons and complaint and get a default judgment without any notice to you. If a default judgment is entered against you, the creditor can garnish your wages, put a lien on your home, repossess your car, and garnish your bank accounts, among other things.
If the collection lawsuit is below $2,000 and it is your only debt, you may want to contact the collection lawyer directly after sending in a written response to the lawsuit and try to settle it yourself. Beware: once a lawsuit is filed, it is rare for a legitimate debt to be settled for a lump sum of less than 75 percent of the balance. If you cannot pay in a lump sum, you will have to make payments for the full amount of the loan.
If the debt is more than six years old or the lawsuit is being brought by a debt collector, you should probably discuss the situation with an attorney. Frequently, a debt collector will not have the appropriate documentation to establish that they are the real owner of the debt, and you may have leverage to reduce or eliminate the lawsuit. In some cases, there may be Fair Debt Collection Practice (FDCPA) violations that may even force the debt collector to pay you money on a counter-claim or an independent lawsuit brought by you in federal court. Contact us to find out how we can help you against debt collectors.