Being sued in court is always a stressful event. You may think that if you don’t have the money to pay it will be easier to just ignore the lawsuit. Whatever the reason, ignoring a lawsuit is the worst possible mistake a debtor can make because when a debtor fails to appear in court, the result is often a default judgment.
A default judgment is an automatic victory for the debt collector, without the necessity of proof. A default judgment can lead to the garnishment of your wages or the placement of a lien on your home. In 2018, more than 70% of debt collection lawsuits ended with a default judgment and this figure is expected to rise. In debt collection lawsuits, defenses are often available, but time is of the essence! In Kentucky, once a lawsuit has been filed, the defendant only has 20 days to formally file a response in court. If you are sued in Kentucky by a debt collection company, it is crucial to contact an attorney to help you. Ron Aslam is a skilled and compassionate litigator with the experience to get results for you. Call the Ron Aslam Law Office at (502) 581-1676 or contact Ron through his website at https://www.ronaslamlaw.com/contact-us/.
If you have been sued on a debt, it is important to understand who is actually suing you because oftentimes cases filed by debt collection companies are defendable while suits filed by creditors are not easily defended in court. Debt collection companies must adhere to state and federal law, such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), when collecting a debt up to and including the filing of a lawsuit. On the other hand, a creditor is not subject to these same restrictions.
A creditor is the person or company that originally lent you money or provided you a service in the first place, such as a credit card company or a bank. A debt collection company is a third-party who is in the business of collecting the debts on behalf of the original lender or that it has purchased from the original lender or from another person or company. While a debt collection company that buys a debt from another becomes the “owner” of the debt, protections are available in lawsuits filed by debt buyers because debt buyers often lack sufficient proof of the debt. Before the debt collection process commenced, you probably have not had any dealings with a debt collection and may not even recognize the names. Some of the largest debt buyers in the United States are companies such as Midland Funding, Portfolio Recovery Associates, Velocity Investments, LVNV Funding, Cavalry SPV, and Unifund CCR.
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused job losses and a massive economic downturn that has left many Americans struggling to pay their bills, much less deal with past debts. Many have turned to credit cards to pay for rent or other necessities. A credit card is basically a high interest loan and eventually the bill will become due. Even before the pandemic, studies have found that debt collection lawsuits overwhelm the dockets of state courts, even forming the majority of civil cases filed in some states. With the courthouses slowly beginning to reopen and adapt to new technological procedures, court personnel are preparing for a surge in debt collection lawsuits.
Debt collectors purchase bad debt from credit card companies or other original creditors in bulk for pennies on the dollar and then sue to collect the original balance plus interest and other additional fees. This type of debt is sometimes called “zombie debt” or “scavenger debt” and the collection of this zombie debt is a multi-million dollar industry in Kentucky and around the nation.
While zombie debt is legally valid and collectible, debt collectors have little, if any, idea about the people whose debt they have purchased and they usually have little proof that the debts are legally owed by the person that has been sued. Oftentimes, the only proof that the debt collectors possess is a computer print-out with a name, account number, and account balance.
Without sufficient proof to establish the debt, the debt collectors may attempt to threaten or coerce you into agreeing to pay the debt or will simply sue you in court to recover the debt. Just as the zombie debt is purchased in bulk, the debt collectors file lawsuits in bulk in an attempt to make money for themselves. In the vast majority of cases, debtors do not respond or defend themselves in court when faced with a lawsuit. Ignoring a lawsuit is the worst possible mistake an alleged debtor can make.
For example, the evidence that the debt collectors present in support of their lawsuit will often be inadmissible under the Kentucky Rules of Evidence. Also, with old debt, there is a chance that a lawsuit may be barred by the statute of limitations. In other cases, certain debts may be discharged by bankruptcy. Sometimes, the debt collectors sue the wrong person completely or a person who is otherwise not legally responsible for the alleged debt. While the legal process can be intimidating and confusing, a trained attorney can quickly identify the weaknesses in the debt collector’s case and use these weaknesses to save you money in the long run.
If you have been sued by a debt buyer, hiring an attorney to defend you will greatly increase your chances for a favorable outcome whether it is a reduction of the amount of the debt you owe or to even have the case dismissed outright. Again, when you are served with a lawsuit and are summoned to court, you may have as little as 20 days to file your answer before default judgment proceedings begin. Call Louisville Attorney Ron Aslam at (502) 581-1676 for a free consultation. At the Ron Aslam Law Office, our team is professionally, ethically, and personally committed to representing the interests of our clients to the fullest extent of the law. Attorney Ron Aslam is an experienced and distinguished courtroom litigator having worked as both a Kentucky Public Defender and a Prosecutor prior to opening his own firm in 2011. Ron always works hard to give our clients the best possible opportunity for a successful resolution.
We also handle medical debt.