Hello there Rehab Nurse,
I am sorry to hear about
your legal problems. I was involved in a similar situation about
a year and a half ago. I had applied for disability but had not yet been approved. So I had no money in which to pay something of this nature. So I decided to research this and I found out quite a bit of information.
The first thing to do is respond in writing to the court that you are contesting this lawsuit. You must do this quickly as most municipalities only allow a short time in which to respond. If a response is required and you do not they may consider the creditors case to be true and award them a judgment.
Find our what your state's statute of limitations are. Most say that a creditor has 4-5 years in which to bring legal action against you. Although every state is different. If the statute has expired you can then advise the court and creditor of such. Requesting that the case be dismissed.
Write a letter to the creditor and Carbon Copy the court asking for validation of your account. You want to ask them to send you all the documentation that they have on you that proves you have an obligation to pay this debt. If the creditor is a 3rd party collection agency there is a very really possibility that they won't have this information and without it the lawsuit will be thrown out. Whatever you do, do not sign an agreement with the collection agency and do not send them any money.
When a collection agency purchases bad debt from a credit card company, bank, etc. they do it in bulk and for pennies on the dollar. Your account maybe in a certain portfolio and there usually is no documentation associated with it. IE; your signature. If for some reason you sent money or signed an agreement to pay they will now have legal proof that the debt is yours.
Now if for some reason you are still found liable to repay this debt and a judgment is entered against you the court will take into consideration as what your earning are and where they come from. Certain types of income are considered judgment proof (they can't take your income), things such as Social Security, Disability from private insurance, Welfare, Workers Comp. So even if you were to lose this case you would most likely not have to pay.
From my experience the type of companies that issue lawsuits for old debts are the worst of the worst. The are known as bottom feeders. What they try and do is obtain a judgment and then come after you. Most of the time the are awarded these because people do not respond in a timely manner or they do not go to court. They win by default and that is exactly what they want.
So please do not get yourself overly worked up. You can beat them.
If you need some help in writing letters please let me know, as I have a few that I can send to you. or if you need anything else please feel free to let me know.
Post Edited (quahog) : 9/18/2007 9:07:23 PM (GMT-6)