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Collections Lawsuit Deadlines: Understanding How They Work

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If you have fallen heavily into credit card debt, you may be amazed at how quickly your financial situation has deteriorated, and especially if your accounts have an interest rate on the higher end. For most consumers too, the days of having just one major credit card and perhaps a department store card are long past. It is not uncommon to have at least several accounts, with many cardholders today (especially millennials) juggling a variety of different reward, points, and bonus systems. And while that can be an effective way to save money in many cases, it can also lead to huge temptation for overspending, and an eventual descent into serious money problems.

Mismanagement of funds is a surefire way to end up with a long line of creditors and debt collectors in chase, but all too often the cause of debt begins with unexpected personal challenges. You may be going through a devastating (and costly) divorce or separation with the cost of two separate households and legal fees, or you or a family member may be sick. Medical bills may be overwhelming for an illness or an accident, and you may find yourself unable to work, adding further stress on your budget.

Some creditors are quick to sue, while others may sell your debt to a collection agency (often in volume with many other accounts) who could be just as litigious—or bent on just calling and harassing you in hopes that the account will be paid sometime in the future. If you do receive word (usually via a process server) of a lawsuit filed against you, examine the summons to find out how much time you have for filing a response, and make sure you keep all documentation from the account. Usually this will be 20 to 30 days.

Consult with a skilled collections lawsuit attorney from a firm like Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC not only for help in writing a response but also to make a more expansive plan for setting your finances straight overall. There is always the temptation to procrastinate or sweep things under the rug—and especially when having to face something as intimidating as a lawsuit—but a response is highly recommended. In some cases, you may even be able to file a late response if you have a valid excuse (this may be related to work or a family or health issue in many cases).

Without making the deadline for filing a response or speaking with your attorney about help in submitting one later if necessary, a default judgment is a very real possibility. This allows the creditor to pursue collections activity in satisfying the debt for ten years, with the option to renew the default judgment for another ten after that. During that period, you could be in danger of losing wages to garnishment, property seizure, or bank levies.

If you are concerned about impending creditor lawsuits or fighting a default judgment, consult with an experienced law firm like Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC as soon as possible. A solution can be found to help you through any of these issues, even if a judgment has already been granted.

Speak with an attorney from Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC as soon as possible to examine your options. Our attorneys have decades of experience in serving clients as they navigate through challenging financial situations, to include student loan issues, bankruptcy, and other debt management processes. We are here to help! Click here to schedule a free 30-minute consultation, call us at (844) 431-3851, or email us at

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