If you’ve been served with a debt collection lawsuit, you are undoubtedly experiencing a wide array of emotions. Anger, confusion, fear, and anxiety are common reactions to finding out that you’re being sued by a powerful debt collection company. Fortunately, if you are the recipient of a debt collection lawsuit, you don’t have to face it alone. When you hire an experienced debt collection lawsuit attorney to represent you in your debt collection case, you send a strong message to the debt collection company that you aren’t to be taken lightly. In this article, we discuss how to fight back against a debt collection lawsuit in California.
Respond to the Lawsuit
The first step in fighting back against a debt collection lawsuit is filing a response. If you fail to respond to the lawsuit, the court will enter a default judgment against you. This means that the debt collector will be given the authority to collect the amount that you allegedly owe. There are several ways that a debt collector can collect on a judgment, including wage garnishment and a bank levy.
Challenge the Debt Collector’s Right to Sue
A proper response to the court will challenge the plaintiff’s right to sue. Often, a debt has been sold several times by the time a debt collector files a lawsuit against a debtor. The result of this is that the debt collector often lacks the paperwork necessary to win its case in court. Specifically, to succeed in a debt collection lawsuit, a debt collector must provide a credit agreement signed by the debtor and proof that all paperwork is accurate and originated with the original creditor. When a debt collection company fails to provide these items, the judge will often dismiss the case.
Force the Plaintiff to Prove its Case
After you respond to the court, the debt collector in a debt collection lawsuit has the burden of proof. This means the debt collector must prove the following to succeed with its case:
- The defendant is responsible for the debt
- The debt collector has the right to sue the defendant
- The defendant owes a specific amount
However, as noted above, it’s common for debt collectors to lack documentation to prove these issues. Therefore, forcing the debt collector to produce such documentation in court can result in dismissal of the case.
Use the Statute of Limitations
Finally, debt collectors often file lawsuits outside of the period allotted by law to do so. The law that sets this deadline is called the statute of limitations. In California, the statute of limitations for most types of consumer debt is four years. In other words, a debt collector has four years from the time a debt becomes delinquent to file a lawsuit against a debtor. If a debt collector files a lawsuit outside the statute of limitations, respond to the court and ask it to dismiss the case.
Hire a Debt Collection Lawsuit Defense Attorney
Finally, if you are facing a debt collection lawsuit, you should hire an attorney as soon as possible. At the Fullman Firm, our California debt collection lawsuit defense attorneys are here to fight for your legal rights. When you come to us for assistance with your debt collection matter, we will do everything we can to obtain a successful result in your debt collection lawsuit. Please contact us as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation.