Yes, a debt collector can sue you under certain circumstances, but it’s important to understand the process and your rights in such situations.
If a debt collector files a lawsuit against you, it’s important to respond. You can respond directly to a lawsuit or you can hire an attorney who specializes in defending debt collection lawsuits.
By responding to the lawsuit, either yourself or through an attorney, you’re requiring the debt collector to make their case and protect your rights. If you show up to court, the debt collector will have to
  • prove that you owe the debt
  • prove that the amount of the debt is correct
  • prove that they have the legal right to sue you to collect on the debt

Responding or showing up in court might help you settle the debt because some collectors would rather settle than go through a long (and expensive) lawsuit.

Whatever you do, don’t ignore the lawsuit. Even if you don’t think you owe a debt. Responding to a debt collector’s lawsuit will likely put you in a better position, cost you less in fees, and give you more control over how you repay the debt.


Here’s what you should do if you are sued by a debt collector:

  1. Review the Summons and Complaint: When served with a lawsuit, carefully read the summons and complaint. These documents outline the details of the lawsuit, including the amount of the debt, the creditor’s claims, and instructions for responding.
  2. Know Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with your rights as a debtor under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Debt collectors must follow specific rules and regulations, and you have protections against abusive or unfair practices.
  3. Respond Promptly: You typically have a limited amount of time to respond to the lawsuit, usually around 20–30 days, depending on your jurisdiction. Failure to respond within this timeframe could result in a default judgment being issued against you.
  4. Consider Your Options: Assess your options for responding to the lawsuit. You may choose to dispute the debt if you believe it’s inaccurate or if you’re being unfairly pursued. Alternatively, you could negotiate a settlement with the debt collector or explore the possibility of filing for bankruptcy if you’re overwhelmed by debt.
  5. Seek Legal Advice: Consider consulting with a qualified attorney who specializes in debt collection defense. A lawyer can help you understand your rights, evaluate your case, and provide guidance on the best course of action.
  6. Prepare Your Defense: If you decide to contest the lawsuit, gather any evidence or documentation that supports your position. This could include records of payments made, communications with the creditor or debt collector, or evidence of identity theft if applicable.
  7. Attend Court Hearings: If the case proceeds to court, make sure to attend all scheduled hearings. Present your defense effectively and adhere to court procedures.
  8. Follow Court Orders: If the court issues a judgment against you, comply with any orders or requirements imposed by the court, such as paying the debt or adhering to a payment plan.

By taking these steps and seeking appropriate legal guidance, you can effectively navigate a lawsuit from a debt collector and protect your rights throughout the process.

Our attorney has more than 14 years of experience with fighting debt collection agencies, visit his profile page here, attorney profile.

  • There are absolutely no legal fees that you will ever be responsible for.
  • Under the FDCPA the collection agency is liable for attorney fees. 
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