Have you been sued? Here are some things you can expect.

You got served

If you haven’t already been served with the lawsuit, a process server is almost certainly on his or her way to serve you. For a money damages lawsuit, such as if you have been sued for a credit card debt, you must be personally served in order for the court to have personal jurisdiction (jurisdiction over your person). Without personal jurisdiction, the court has no power over you.

We’ve all seen a movie or TV show in which service of process is effected by a process server handing paperwork to a person and saying, “You’ve been served.” That is one way for service to be perfected. But did you know that service of process can be perfected by the process server leaving the appropriate papers at the defendant’s usual place of abode with any person residing therein who is 15 years of age or older, and informing that person of the papers’ contents?

If you are being sued for foreclosure or eviction, the plaintiff will still attempt to serve you with the lawsuit, but, in the event that personal service cannot be obtained, the laws allow for constructive service to be utilized to obtain in rem jurisdiction (jurisdiction over the property).

Do not ignore the lawsuit! Time is ticking!

Once service is effectuated, you will have only a certain amount of time to respond before a default is entered against you. The timeframe for response after service is, generally, 20 days, although some types of lawsuits (eviction lawsuit, for example) have only a 5-day window for response.

Generally, if a default is entered against you, you have essentially waived your defenses to the allegations. This often leads to a default judgment being entered against you. With a judgment, your wages and bank accounts can be garnished, and certain property can be levied upon and sold.

Be aware of your options

To avoid a default judgment from being entered against you, you should contact a Florida debt collection defense attorney, such as Joseph Battaglia, to discuss your options. Attorney Battaglia has represented the interests of people like you for over a decade. He will be able to review your matter and advise of your options. One possible option is the filing of a bankruptcy case, such as a chapter 7. The filing of a bankruptcy petition may institute a stay (or a pausing) of the lawsuit you were served with and may also, ultimately, discharge the debt you are being sued over.

Do not hesitate. Contact Battaglia Law, PLLC for a free consultation.