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What’s the Worst That Could Happen If You Ignore a Lawsuit Filed Against You By a Debt Collector?

Getting sued over a debt can trigger a flood of emotions: anger, frustration, confusion, and anxiety. For some, these feelings are completely overwhelming. It’s not uncommon for a sense of hopelessness to take over. The stress can be debilitating and easily tempt those who have been sued to avoid responding to the complaint altogether. What’s the worst thing that could happen if you don’t address the lawsuit anyways?

If you ignore the complaint, the case will proceed without you. The court will most likely rule in favor of the debt collector without hearing your side. In other words, the debt collector will win by “default” because you didn’t show up. When this happens, the court enters a judgment against you for the amount the debt collector claims you owe. The court may also award additional fees against you to cover collections costs, interest, and attorneys’ fees.

A judgment gives the debt collector stronger tools to collect the debt from you. The debt collector may be able to:

  • Garnish your wages;

  • Place a lien against your property; and

  • Move to freeze or garnish funds in your bank account.

The most effective way to cope with the stress of being sued is to take an active role in your defense. Review the complaint and then compare it to your records about the debt and any information you may have gotten from the debt collector. Analyze whether you have defenses or claims against the company that sued you. Don’t miss a deadline or wait until a judgment is entered against you. If you’re uncertain about your rights or want assistance developing an effective legal strategy, call our office for a free consultation.


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