I got sued — not on my credit report — is it too late to sue me?
“I got sued — not on my credit report — is it too late to sue me?”
“But if the account is not showing up on my credit reports this means the account is too old to sue me on so I have a great statute of limitations defense, right?”
Here’s the deal with credit reporting. Basically, when you have what’s called a first major delinquency, that’s the trigger to start the clock on how long this negative information can report on your credit report.
We go forward about seven years. That’s how long it can be on your credit report.
“How is that period different than the period to sue me?”
What about the time period to sue?
That’s what we call the statute of limitations. There is a lot of controversy over it even though I think it is very clear that it is three years but the collection industry says, “No, no, it’s six years to sue.”
We won’t get into all the details of this because it will distract us from the main question. I’m just giving you a general, we’re not covering every exception to every exception here. Basically, you look back and say, “When was my last payment?” Then you start going forward from there. Are you more than three years? Are you more than six years?
If I’ve got seven years for credit reporting and some smaller period of time for statute of limitations, if it’s not on my credit report, then obviously it’s beyond the statute of limitations, right?
Well, maybe not. Because it could be it’s just not reporting. It could be it was mistakenly deleted.
You definitely want to look at your credit reports — normally there will be a date related to “date of last payment,” “date of last activity,” or something similar. Often we find what’s on the credit report conflicts with what the company suing you says in this lawsuit against you.
Very helpful to pull your credit reports, but just understand simply because it’s not on your credit report, doesn’t mean that it must have been more than seven years ago. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t.
How to avoid the biggest danger when sued . . . .
The last thing I’ll say, and this is something we harp on a lot because the biggest danger when you’ve been sued is not answering the lawsuit in time.
If you don’t answer, you get what’s called a “default judgment” which means you lose.
Even if you really don’t owe the debt. Even if the lawsuit was brought after the statute of limitations.
Regardless of anything else, you lose.
You must understand this — and the collection industry hates when we tell people this as life is much easier for them when they don’t have to prove anything other than you didn’t answer.
When you’ve been served, when you get a copy of the lawsuit, you have 14 days to answer in Small Claims or District Court. You have 30 days to answer if you’re in Circuit Court.
It is critical to keep these dates in mind.
Now if you have a statute of limitations defense, then you put that in your response/answer.
Definitely get with a lawyer in Alabama and find out what your options are.
You do have options — five of them actually.
A lot of times you can handle this on your own, either to fight it, to settle it, or you can hire a lawyer to fight it or settle it. Occasionally, bankruptcy is appropriate. We do have a long webinar (well over an hour) on your five options, and then we answer many frequently asked questions that naturally come up.
Investing your time in watching the video and reading the article will be of great help.
Especially if you are in a serious situation where you have been sued.
If we can help you, feel free to call us at 205-879-2447 or fill out our online contact form here.
Thanks for watching the video and reading this article.