What Pitfalls Do People Face When Handling A Creditor Lawsuit On Their Own?
One major pitfall we see is when people don’t file an answer to the lawsuit and end up getting a default judgment against them. More than 70% of the debt cases resolved by judgment are decided by default. That is, in over 70% of the cases, nobody files an answer. Sometimes people miscalculate and file the answers late after the judgment has been obtained, or they’ll file an answer that doesn’t address the right things. The second most common problem with these kinds of cases is that people will too readily admit that they owe the money without actually looking carefully at their file.
Finally, one of the most common errors I see is petitions are filed and served alongside requests for discovery. That could be interrogatories, requests for admission, requests for production, or requests for disclosures. If you don’t answer those requests promptly, then the court can keep you from admitting that evidence at trial. This can put you at a very severe disadvantage, especially if you don’t answer the request for admission. The court can deem the admissions against you when the time comes for trial. Even if this has happened, a person still ought to see about hiring a lawyer because the lawyer can file a motion and can usually reverse some of those things and get you back on more even ground to fight.
At What Point Should I Hire An Attorney? Should I Wait Until I Have Been Served?
Usually, it’s a good idea to hire a lawyer early in the process for a couple of reasons. The first is you can find out what the cost will be. Some cases are too small to warrant hiring an attorney. You will spend more on legal fees than if you just worked out a deal and paid the debt off. You want an attorney early because you may want to file a response even before you get served. So, if they have filed a lawsuit, you may want to be able to jump in front of them, file an answer, and start the process. Get them served with discovery, put them on their heels, and be very aggressive. That’s a good strategy in some cases. In other cases, depending on the type of debt that we are looking at, it may be advisable to wait until you’ve been served. An attorney can tell you what things to be looking for, whether it’s a posting on your door, being served by hand, or receiving something from the clerk’s office in the mail. Some people wouldn’t know to look for those things and wouldn’t realize that the clock had begun to tick.
I would say that the minute there is any threat that you will be sued, it is an excellent time to talk to an attorney. You also may be in a good position to speak to someone about filing for bankruptcy, depending on your financial situation. I don’t point very many people in that direction. However, in some cases, it is the best course of action. You can at least complete the analysis before you get sued and figure out whether you want to fight this case or whether you want to seek relief in bankruptcy. Those are all valid reasons you ought to talk to a lawyer as soon as you know you have a problem.
Should I Always Hire An Attorney For A Debt Collection Lawsuit?
The debt amount does not change the legal issue, but the amount of debt does change the economic impact of the case. For instance, if you are being sued for $1000, it probably doesn’t make sense to spend money for an attorney to fight it. If it is a case for more than you could ever pay, you need to speak with an attorney. It probably won’t cost anything to consult an attorney once you get served, but an attorney who doesn’t address your economic issues will probably not do you any favors.
What Sets You And Your Firm Apart In Defending People Facing Debtor Lawsuits?
What sets us apart is that we are very clearly focused on the procedure in trying to defeat these cases using the court’s rules, rules of evidence, and rules of procedure. We recognize very early on that it is not our burden to prove their debt or even to disprove their debt. It is their burden to prove it. Over the years, we have been successful at getting their evidence thrown out because we look at every scrap of paper that comes in. We very carefully analyze things like affidavits and the actual business records that we receive from the creditor. The other thing that sets us apart is that we recognize every lawsuit is just a financial decision. When a person comes in to see us, it’s not a matter of pride and numbers of wins and losses. Whether we can leave the client better off when they’ve left our office than they were when they came in is essential.
If you are not advising the client that they need to be always thinking about whether they want to settle at this point and stop paying attorney’s fees or not, you are not doing them any favors. You have to be able to look at their whole financial situation and give them appropriate advice.
For more information on Handling A Lawsuit Without An Attorney In TX, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (940) 440-5250 today.