Bankruptcy Lawyer | What To Do If You Are Sued In Small Claims Court Pt. 1

Bankruptcy Lawyer | If you receive a notice of a debt collection lawsuit, it’s important to become as familiar as possible with the process. Lawsuits are often decided on technicalities that are easy to miss, and the chaotic court process can lead those who aren’t prepared for it to make costly mistakes. Here’s an overview of what to expect and what to do if you’re sued for a debt.

Show Up in Court

The most important thing to do is show up in court at the specified date and time no matter what. No matter how strong your defense is, you must be in court to present it. If not, the creditor will automatically win and receive a default judgment. That judgment will then go on your credit report, and it will also allow the creditor to garnish your wages or bank accounts to recover the money awarded in the judgment.

Know Why You’re in Court

The only real thing debt collection lawsuits have in common is that they occur in a frequently chaotic small claims court. The procedures can vary greatly even within different courts in the same city or county. Going directly to trial is very rare. In many courts, the first time you go, you’ll be directed or encouraged to talk to the creditor’s lawyer about a settlement. The court may also send cases to mediation or arbitration. Often, you may need to arrive early to request a trial or there will be a roll call where if you don’t answer that you want a trial, you will automatically be sent to mediation or arbitration.

If it’s your first time in court, it can be incredibly easy to make a procedural mistake that costs you important rights or to mistake a representative of the creditor for neutral court personnel. Try to visit the court to observe on an earlier date if possible, or at least arrive early to ask about the procedures. Look for a uniformed court officer or a clerk behind a window — debt collection attorneys are often familiar with the courthouse and may be at the front of the courtroom and appear to be in charge. You may have to ask a few people, but generally at least one neutral court staffer will be sympathetic and explain the procedures if you’re polite to them.


If you are considering filing Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in Bakersfield for your business, get advice sooner, rather than later. Call Max Gardner  Bankruptcy Lawyer at 661-888-4335