Bad debts can lead to court has released a free publication called “What To Do If You Are Sued” which explains a consumer’s rights when their creditors take legal action against them. “If you’re behind on your debts your creditors can do a lot more than make annoying collection calls,” said Mike Kidwell, vice president and co-founder of “Some people think they can hide from their creditors forever. That kind of behavior will most likely end up getting you sued.” According to Kidwell, the first thing to do after being served with a complaint is to file an answer. In small claims court that can be as simple as signing it and returning it to the court or writing an informal letter. The method depends on the state in which that person resides. Answering a complaint shows the judge the person’s commitment to resolving the issue. In civil court, answering a complaint becomes much more important. If no answer is given, a default judgement will most likely be entered against the person. At that time most states will give the person a chance to explain why he/she didn’t answer and 30 days to do so. If no answer is filed within those 30 days, the default judgment becomes final and the party doing the suing can take immediate action to collect any money awarded to them. “To answer a complaint in civil court, people need to either admit or deny each statement made in the complaint,” said Kidwell. “It’s best to consult a lawyer when responding to each statement. In most states if a person doesn’t raise certain defenses the court will assume that they have waived those defenses. A lawyer will help to make sure they don’t miss anything.” Information on hearings, judgements and consumer rights are available in the free publication “What To Do If You Are Sued.” Download it for free from or send $5 (to cover shipping and handling) to Getting Sued Publication,, P.O. Box 9409, Gaithersburg, MD, 20898-9409.

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