What You Need To Know When You Are Being Sued In Maryland
First of all, don’t ignore the problem. If you don’t respond, the Court may enter a judgment against you. Then you have fewer options for dealing with the debt. The trial date is listed on the papers you got from the Court. Make sure you do SOMETHING before that date.
Here are your basic options:
- DISPUTE THE DEBT. It is the job of the person or company suing you to PROVE that you owe the debt. This means they must produce paperwork or other documents and show them to you. They also may have to have someone testify that the documents are true, before they can get a judgment. You do not have to consent or agree that the debt is owed, but you must tell the truth to the Court. If they can not prove that you owe the debt, the Court may rule in your favor and you may not have to pay the debt at all.
- SETTLE THE DEBT- Many creditors are more than willing to set up a payment plan to settle the debt. If you agree to a payment plan, then they will not have to prove the debt in Court. They do this because they know most people will make a few payments, then fall behind on the payments. That way, they get the judgment, plus some money from you.
If you re going to settle the debt, there is only one way to do it. You should save up a lump sum of money and negotiate one payment to the creditor. As a rule of thumb, creditors will generally settle for about 50% of the amount owed. By settling the debt this way, you keep control of the situation. If they agree, you are done with the debt and don’t need to worry about it anymore. If they don’t agree, you still have the money in your bank account, not theirs!
- FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION. Filing a bankruptcy will IMMEDIATELY stop the lawsuit and protect you from the creditor.
So what is the best thing to do? While it all depends or your particular situation, if your debt is more than 25-30% of your income, or you owe more than $10,000, you should consider filing for bankruptcy protection.