If you have been sued by a debt collector in Washington State the first thing you should do is don’t panic. In my experience as a Washington State bankruptcy lawyer, this is the tipping point for most debtors to finally pick up the phone and make the phone call to a debt relief professional. After your receive a summons and complaint (most likely from one of the large debt collection firms which may consist of Suttell, Hammer and White, Mandarich Law Group, Gordon, Aylworth and Tami P.C., Merchants Credit Association or Machol & Johannes just to name a few, you should think about whether you want to settle your debts or get rid of the debt entirely through filing for bankruptcy.
If you plan on filing for bankruptcy and file your case within 20 days of receiving the summons and complaint, your debt will be discharged and you don’t need to worry about filing an answer with the civil court. If however you plan on attempting to settle your debts or need more time to save funds for a bankruptcy filing, you should have your debt relief attorney file an answer on your behalf which basically says that you are not sure if you incurred the debt and that the debt collectors have not provided evidence that you actually owe the debt. Often times debt collectors do not have the proper documentation to prove that you actually owe the debt or would not be able to provide a witness to testify at court as to whether you will owe the debt.
The sad reality is that debtors can fight these lawsuits but often do nothing and end up with a default judgment on their records. Once a default judgment is entered it is very difficult to have it set aside and you will end up owing the full amount of the debt plus interest and attorneys fees which I’m sure everybody would want to avoid.