How to Deal with a Debt Collection Lawsuit in West Virginia
Charleston, WV legal advocates defend consumers against creditors
If a creditor starts a lawsuit to collect a debt from you, you need to hire an experienced West Virginia debt collection defense attorney. At The Giatras Law Firm, PLLC in Charleston, we have worked for decades representing people like you in debt collection lawsuits.
How to respond to a court summons for debt collection
If you are served with a summons, complaint or other court paper indicating you are being sued, the first thing you should do is seek legal counsel. If we are hired to represent you, we will review the case and take immediate steps to file an appropriate response to protect your rights. The debt collector’s case may have a legal defect, such as lack of jurisdiction, improper service or failure to state a valid claim. We will raise all appropriate objections and defenses on your behalf. If you were the victim of debt harassment by the plaintiff, we might be able to assert a counterclaim for any damages you suffered as a result, as well as seek reimbursement of attorneys’ fees.
What happens if a debt collector sues me? Will I have to go to court?
Many debt collection cases are disposed of without the parties actually having to go to court. If the case is filed in the West Virginia circuit court, the parties will engage in discovery, which means they exchange documents and answer questions in writing or in person. If the court papers clearly show there are no genuine issues of material fact in dispute, to the case may be decided without a court appearance. Otherwise, the case will either settle or go to trial before a judge or a jury. Lawsuits for small amounts of debt might go straight to trial in magistrate court, although both sides may appeal the decision to circuit court.
How can I defend against a debt collection lawsuit?
If we represent you, we will first determine whether there is a basis for dismissing the lawsuit outright. If not, we will raise any defenses you may have and, if you were the victim of debt harassment by the collector, will assert a counterclaim for your resulting damages. We use discovery to learn what evidence the creditor has against you and to collect evidence for use on your behalf. If possible, we will file a motion for summary judgment, which seeks to resolve the case without trial. Otherwise, we will aggressively present your defense and any counterclaim you have at trial.
Should I settle a debt collection lawsuit?
It is often wise to pursue a settlement, especially if you have a weak defense. The creditor might be willing to accept reduced payments or offer an easier repayment schedule. By contrast, if you lose at trial, you might have to pay the full amount of the debt. On the other hand, once you settle, you lose your opportunity to present any good defenses to the lawsuit. You also will be required make the payments to which you agreed or face additional legal action. We will evaluate whether settlement is a good option for you and negotiate the best settlement terms we can. We may also use a strong defense or counterclaim to convince the creditor to settle.
Contact respected Charleston debt collection defense attorneys for a free initial consultation
The debt collection defense lawyers at The Giatras Law Firm, PLLC in Charleston, West Virginia are experienced in defending debtors in court. To schedule a free initial consultation with our team, call 888-819-1281 or contact us online.