According to Value Penguin, the typical Illinois resident had $5,365 in credit card debt at the start of 2022 and possibly even more in personal and payday loans. Few people take on debt lightly. You probably needed to use a credit card or personal loan to buy groceries, pay bills, and afford health care. With money so tight, the last thing you need is a creditor or debt collector dragging you into court for a lawsuit.
An Arlington Heights debt collection defense attorney can help. At the Zero Debt Law Firm, we’ve made it our business to defend debtors in collection cases. If hired, we’ll work to get your case dismissed or reach a settlement agreement for a reduced amount with a payment plan you can afford. Contact us to learn more.
Debt Collection Lawsuits
Most lawsuits are filed after you’ve been in default for some time. Default means you haven’t been paying the debt as agreed to in your loan documents. At some point, your creditor will either file a lawsuit or sell your debt to a collection agency, which then gets to work collecting on the debt. And these agencies like to sue—and for good reason.
Most debtors simply ignore the lawsuit, believing that it goes away if they don’t respond. As they quickly find out, the opposite happens. If you ignore a lawsuit, the debt collector can ask the judge to enter a default judgment against you. A default judgment means you essentially never showed up to court or filed any legal documents in opposition to the lawsuit. Ninety percent of cases end in a default judgment for the collection agency.
Garnishment and Liens
Once they have a default judgment, a creditor or debt collector can take many different actions to squeeze money out of you, including:
- Frozen bank accounts. They can freeze your bank accounts and pull money out, even from joint accounts.
- Wage garnishment. The judge orders your employer to hold back some of your pay and send it to the debt collector until your judgment is paid off.
- Liens on property. A lien gives the debt collector a right to payment if you sell your property.
They can also ask for their attorney fees and court costs, further driving up the amount you could be liable for.
Any court judgment against you comes with a high interest rate, which means it can grow much larger in a short period of time. In Illinois, the judgment interest rate is 9% annually, your unpaid debt can double in under 10 years. We can help our clients avoid these harsh outcomes and develop a sensible pathway to settling these debts.
Why an Attorney Makes All the Difference
When they aren’t ignoring a lawsuit against them, many debtors quickly enter an installment plan with the debt collector to pay the debt for the full amount. Few have the money, and they often end right back up in default. The process starts all over again.
Their law firm may also require you to sign a court document where you admit your guilty and agree to have a judgment entered against you. Almost no one understands what they’re agreeing to. If you ever fill out an application for a mortgage, loan, school, housing, insurance, etc. that asks if you’ve ever had a judgment entered against you, you’ll have to answer “yes”. It’s how they get you on the hook and keep you there.
We can break this cycle. Our legal team has litigated against countless debt collectors and creditors on behalf of our clients. Typically, we get creditors to agree to accept a greatly reduced lump sum amount. In other cases, we work out a payment plan that won’t destroy your finances. Many cases we are able to get dismissed with our clients owing the debt collector $0.
Turning the Tables on Debt Collectors
We don’t simply fight to reduce the debt you owe. We also hold collection agencies accountable when they do something illegal.
By law, collection agencies cannot harass you at all hours of the night or even continue to call once you tell them in writing to stop. Various deceptive and abusive collection practices include outright lying about what you owe or even contacting your family or boss to discuss the debt.
With the right evidence, we can sue a debt collector for violating the law. Judges are eager to hear whether debt collectors are harassing innocent debtors, and we have obtained damages and attorney’s fees for these claims. In fact, we’ve won hundreds of these cases.
Schedule Your Free Strategy Session Today
Anyone sued for a debt should have a seasoned attorney in their corner. The Zero Debt Law Firm can defend you in court and handle all out-of-court litigation.
To get started, call us today at (312) 267-1160 to schedule your free strategy session. We don’t charge for this session and any information you share with us is confidential.