Should I show up for my debt collection lawsuit trial in Alabama?

“Should I show up for my debt collection lawsuit trial in Alabama?”

debt collection lawsuitThis is a reasonable question, because trial is a big deal.

It really depends.

Are you representing yourself, or have you hired a lawyer to handle your case?

If you’re representing yourself, then you must show up for your collection lawsuit trial.

If you don’t, then you’ll almost certainly lose your case by getting a default judgment against you.

Even though you answer the lawsuit (which most people don’t) and avoided a default judgment then, that doesn’t mean you’re completely immune to it.

If you would like more information on how to prepare for trial, you can check out this article where we talk about security, and why you should check out other trials before your own.

If you’ve hired an attorney to handle your case, then you need to get in touch with them.

Sometimes they will want you to be at the trial.

Other times, they will tell you not to show up.

For example, when we represent  consumers, we usually tell our clients not to show up.

Because typically you can’t testify accurately that you owe Midland Funding (or whichever debt buyer it is) whatever amount they’re suing you for.

You can only testify to something you have personal knowledge about.

However, there are cases where we need our clients to be there.

In the end, it really depends.

Make sure that you communicate with your attorney and see what they want.

After you communicate with them, follow their advice.

In summary, if you’re handling your lawsuit on your own, it’s imperative that you show up.

If you’ve hired an attorney, get in touch with them.

Contact Us.

Hope this has been helpful to you.

If you have any questions and you live in the state of Alabama, give us a call at 1-205-879-2447.

Or fill out a contact form and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

We will be glad to help you in any way we can.

I look forward to chatting with you!

Have a great day.

-John G. Watts


  1. Rachel says:

    I am being sued about a credit card. I do owe it. Would it be best to just waive the trial and receive a judgement? I am currently unemployed and have only a vehicle as asset. Can they take it for the judgement? There is a number to call and settle. Thanks for any advice

    • John Watts says:


      Normally if they get a judgment they don’t try and take your vehicle (assuming a normal vehicle) but its possible. There is something called a “sheriff’s sale” where they get the court to order assets to be sold. Normally this is with a house, not a car.

      Lots of factors to consider in whether to fight or settle. Here is a small list:

      **Is it an original creditor or debt collector who sued?

      **How much is the suit for?

      **Which court is the suit brought in (Small Claims, District, or Circuit)?

      **Which collection lawfirm brought the suit?

      **What county is the suit in?

      **Do you have legal defenses to the suit?

      **What would it cost in terms of settling (financial and otherwise)?

      **What would it cost to defend?

      **What are the odds of success if defending/fighting the lawsuit?

      Give us a call at 205-879-2447 and ask for Carolyn –she can set us up with a call to go over the factors and we can help you figure out the best option to take.

      It may be to settle by calling the collection lawyers directly or it may be to fight or take some other option. In 20 minutes on the phone you’ll know what you need to do.

      Talk to you soon!

      John Watts

  2. Faraz says:

    I live in Dallas and I’m being sued by portfolio recovery recently. I got served by district court in dallas and Today is the last day to answer the law suit. I don’t know what to do. Yesterday, I called PRA and they agreed to settle this case in the amount of $800 (original debt 1,123.00). Which they break in to two payments. The first payment is due by the end of this month which I did not agree and end up the call. Is it ok to settle this over the phone since I don’t have much time? If I still need to answer the court then what do I have to say? How do I approach to the court? Call or show up?? And what to write/say in my answer? I have never done this before so please guide me step by step.

    please note that I can’t afford a lawyer at this point. My balance is in negative rite now. I own a house and lease a car and my dad is helping me out to pay my bills.

    Thanks in advance

    • John Watts says:


      First, I’m sorry you are having to deal with this — sounds like you have a lot on your plate right now.

      Second, with you being sued in Dallas, Texas, I can’t tell you how the law works there as I’m not licensed in Texas.

      Third, if you were in Alabama, I would tell you that you still need to file an answer in the court. You go to the clerk’s office and file an answer. Here is a video that describes part of it —

      Fourth, it is fine to negotiate over the phone, but if it was me, I would get it confirmed in writing (email or through the mail). You are facing a time crunch because of the answer due date — take care of filing the answer and you remove that time pressure.

      Fifth, here is an article that talks about how to settle with original creditors — you have a debt collector but same concept.

      Get with a consumer protection lawyer in Texas to give you advice about Texas — all the above is what I would suggest as a starting point for someone in Alabama to consider.

      Best wishes and hope you can put this behind you ASAP!

      John Watts

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