Debt Collection Lawsuit in Illinois
Opening a credit account or requesting a loan from the bank is a typical financial action in today’s society. Credit is a necessity to make everyday life purchases like a car or cell phone, while funding a college education or owning a home often requires the assistance of a willing lender. With the multitude of sources for immediate funds available, becoming debt-ridden has become more of a guarantee for some rather than a possibility. All it takes is for you to miss one too many payments for the notices to pile and debt collection calls to start overwhelming your phone.
What may start off as a subtle reminder can quickly transform into a court subpoena for a debt collection lawsuit. As the debtor, it can feel as if you have no options for defending against the charges, but with the help of an Illinois debt collection lawsuit attorney, debt relief is a possibility.
How to Respond to a Debt Collection Lawsuit
Creditors and lenders will inform you of a lawsuit via legal complaint and a court summons. The complaint identifies the amount owed on a particular account as well as the claims presented against you. The summons is a notification stating that you are required to appear in court on a specific date to defend yourself against the legal claim. Ignoring this notification will only result in a default judgment which can result in wage garnishment or a bank levy.
To avoid such action, it is in your best interest to respond to the complaint promptly, no matter if you agree with the charges or not. The legal document will identify you and the cosigner on the account or loan listed as the defendants. Depending on the specific court, you’ll have 20 to 30 days to file your answer. Your response should include the following:
- Admission or denial of the claim
- Potential counterclaims
- Legal defenses
- Your signature
Debtors have the choice to submit their answer to a complaint without legal help; however, an experienced attorney can make you aware of the most relevant defenses to present for your case.
Defenses Against Credit Card Debt Lawsuit
Individuals frequently make the mistake of admitting guilt to charges without ever exploring their legal defense options. Even if the claims presented are valid, your attorney can present relevant defenses that can result in your case being dismissed altogether and you not having to pay a dime. Some of the most common defenses in debt collection lawsuits include:
- Expired Statute of Limitations: Debts in Illinois have a statute of limitations which outlines the period in which an entity can legally pursue legal action for outstanding debt. If the statute of limitations has expired, the creditor cannot sue you, even if the debt is legitimately yours.
- Mistaken Identity: If the creditor has the wrong person, the judge can dismiss your case. Your lawyer would have to prove that the debt is not yours; in some cases, he or she may be able to file a counterclaim for emotional damages.
- Fraudulent Charges: For credit card debt, you can present the defense that fraudulent charges were made to your account and that they are being investigated.
- Lack of Legal Standing: Debts are bought and sold often. For a creditor or debt collector to sue you, they must have legal standing to do so. If it is found that they do not, the judge can dismiss the case.
Determined Illinois Debt Collection Lawsuit Attorney
Better your chances of making it through a debt collection lawsuit by acquiring the legal services of an Illinois debt collection lawsuit attorney at Benveniste Law Offices. Heather Benveniste spent seven years of her legal career as a collections attorney in the debt buying industry and can use her inside knowledge to your benefit. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. You pay nothing until we win for you.