Representing Debtors When They’re Sued

We represent debtors when they’re sued.  We do not recommend that you “act as your own lawyer.”

If you receive a summons and complaint you should immediately call an attorney.  In state court, an answer to a collection complaint must be served on the creditor’s attorney within 20 days after service of the summons and complaint on you.

There are procedural rules on what proper service is that a consumer doesn’t know, but lawyers understand.  In Minnesota state court a lawsuit is commenced when the summons and complaint are served on you.  For collection lawsuits, the summons and complaint do not have to be filed with the court administrator or contain a file number to begin or “commence” the lawsuit against you.

Under Minnesota law, a creditor can begin to garnish your wages or bank accounts 40 days after you’re served with a complaint if you fail to serve a proper answer on the attorney for the creditor.  This is called pre-judgment garnishment.

If you are sued (served with a summons and complaint) you should immediately call an attorney. We want you to call us.

Debtor’s Rights

The FDCPA generally bars all forms of unfair, false, abusive or deceptive collection practices.

The debtor has the following rights under the law:

  • The collector must cease communication with the debtor once the consumer notifies the collector in writing to cease further communication
  • To dispute the debt
  • To receive a written notice from the collector within five days after the initial communication from the collector.  The initial notice must state the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed, and other important information under the law
  • To dispute the debt in writing and ask for proof (“validation”) of the debt within 30 days of the consumer’s receipt of the initial written notice from the debt collector
  • If the consumer disputes the debt in writing within 30 days of her receipt of the initial written communication from the collector, the collector must cease collection of the debt until the collector mails validation or verification of the debt to the consumer

This list does not contain all of the debtor’s rights under the Act.

Stopping Collection Harassment

The Best Way To Stop Collection Harassment Is To Call An Attorney 

It is important that you document your communication with all collectors.  Ask any third parties who have been contacted to keep notes of these communications or send you an email stating the date of the call, what was said during the call, the approximate time of the call, and, if possible, the five Ws:  Who, What, Where, When, and Why.

Who:

Who called you; what was the individual’s name; the company’s name; it’s address; and it’s telephone and fax numbers. Ask for all of this information.

What:

What did you say to them, and what did they say to you

Where:

Where did the conversation take place and were there any witnesses to the conversation

When:

When did the conversation take place and at approximately what time of the day.  If you don’t remember the precise date, remember the week or month or take notes of the conversation immediately after you are finished with the call

Why:

Why did the debt collector or person call you

In Minnesota you may record telephone conversations with a collector and not inform the collector that you’re doing so.

What Causes Personal Injuries?

Personal Injuries can be caused by:

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents
  • Motorcycle, Boat and Bus Accidents
  • Bicycle and Pedestrian Injuries
  • Defective or Dangerous Consumer Goods
  • Burn Injuries
  • Slip and Fall
  • Animal Attacks
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Wrongful Death

What should I do as soon as I am injured?

The first thing you should do is seek medical treatment right away.  Make sure any necessary police reports are filed. Take a lot of photographs of your injuries. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible for detailed instructions and protection under the law.

How long is the statute of limitation for filing a personal injury lawsuit?

It depends on the type of injury and the laws of your state.  It is best to consult an attorney that specializes in personal injury.  An attorney can help you with your case and insure that the best settlement is reached for you.

What is the cost for hiring a personal injury attorney?

There is no out of pocket expense.  Attorneys are paid a percentage of any recovery.

What Is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding in which a person who cannot pay their bills gets a new financial start.  The right to file bankruptcy is provided by federal law.  Filing bankruptcy immediately stops your creditors from seeking to collect debts from you.  A completed bankruptcy discharges (“eliminates”) your debts.

What can Bankruptcy Do for Me?

Filing Bankruptcy:

  • Stops wage or bank garnishments, debt collection harassment and similar creditor actions to collect a debt.
  • Stops foreclosure on your home and allows you an opportunity to catch up on missed payments. (Bankruptcy, does not, however, automatically eliminate mortgages and other liens on your property without payment.)
  • Eliminates the legal obligation to pay most or all of your debts.  This is called a “discharge” of debts.  It is designed to give you a fresh financial start.
  • Prevents repossession of your car or other property.

Certain Debts Are Not Eliminated By a Bankruptcy:

Bankruptcy cannot, however, cure every financial problem.  Nor is it the right step for every individual. Bankruptcy will not:

  • Eliminate the rights of “secured” creditors. A “secured” creditor has taken a mortgage or other lien on property to secure the payment of the loan.  Common examples are car loans and home mortgages.  You can force secured creditors to take payments over time in the bankruptcy process and bankruptcy can eliminate your obligation to pay additional money if your property is taken.  Nevertheless, you generally cannot keep the collateral unless you continue to pay the debt.
  • Eliminate debts such as child support, alimony (maintenance), certain other debts related to divorce, guaranteed student loans, court restitution orders, criminal fines and most taxes.
  • Protect cosigners on your debts.  When a relative or friend has co-signed a loan, the cosigner will have to repay the loan.
  • Eliminate debts that arise after bankruptcy has been filed.

What Different Types of Bankruptcy Cases Should I Consider?

There are two types of bankruptcy that most consumers file:

  • Chapter 7 is known as a “straight” bankruptcy or “liquidation”.  It requires a debtor to give up property which exceeds certain limits called “exemptions,” so the property can be sold to pay creditors.
  • Chapter 13 is called “debt adjustment.”  It requires a debtor to file a plan to pay a portion of their debts from current income. The consumer must repay a portion of their debt for a period of three to five years.

Either type of case may be filed individually or by a married couple filing jointly.  The vast majority of debtors who file bankruptcy are entitled to keep all of their assets under the law.

We are a debt relief agency.  We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.