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Collection Lawsuits: From Delinquency to Default Judgment

papers spread out on desk reading "past due"

It is important to understand how a debt evolves from a bill you have to pay to something resulting in what can be extremely challenging legal action. If you are having financial difficulties right now, just understand that more than ever you are not alone. Beginning with COVID-19 restrictions, shutdown, and lockdowns, millions of individuals lost their jobs and had hours cut—but even worse, large numbers also became sick or even died.

Undeniably, 2020 and ongoing through 2021 have led to devastating circumstances both in terms of health and finances for so many US citizens; however many were already just treading water in terms of debt. As the viral pandemic swept the nation, the first concern was the massive, cumulative student loan debt, now hovering at $1.74 trillion. For federal student loan borrowers, there was good news—but for those indebted to private student loan servicers, the situation seemed precarious for many and has continued to be that way; after all, again, previous to COVID, the student loan debt crisis was already well underway.

Unfortunately, both delinquencies and defaults can play a role in many different types of debts, from credit card debt to automobile payments, mortgages, student loans, and more. Medical debt has always been an enormous problem in the US, and is now worse than ever, continuing to cause debtors to file for bankruptcy. While the evolution from being delinquent to defaulting may differ from creditor to creditor, the key is to act as soon as possible if you are being sued.

While some creditors and credit card agencies may bluff and hold off for months (or even years), content just to plague you with calls and an unbelievable amount of letters, others may be extremely litigious, as well as adept in navigating the legal system. While that sort of activity can be a headache to deal with as you face challenges in adapting to limited income currently, if you find yourself in default and also being sued, the situation has become much more critical.

It is important to take all debt situations seriously, but especially if you are being sued. There are time limits within legal action, which means you usually have 20 to 30 days to respond and let the plaintiff—and the court—know that you are listening and either working on a defense for court or that you will attempt to negotiate. Speak with an attorney as soon as possible to avoid having a default judgment granted against you.

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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