Santa Monica, CA asked in Collections for California

Q: How do I find out status of a suit filed against me by a debt collector?

Was sued by a lawyer of a debt collector in November 2015 for a debt of approximately $2900. Was served by a third party in January 2016. To date, I have not responded to suit, as I was locked in depression and mental health issues at the time. Now that I am in a somewhat healthier space (by way of professional help), I would like to know what my options are. I don't have much money, I work part time at the moment, and am underemployed. In fact, I just filed for unemployment as I will be out of work during May and June. Has the case moved through the courts? Can I still set up a payment plan and have the suit set aside? What are my options? A bit overwhelmed and seeking guidance. Looking forward to and grateful for the feedback. - Thanks!

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1 Lawyer Answer
Sergio G. Chaidez
Sergio G. Chaidez
  • Collections Lawyer
  • San Diego, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Hello. If you were sued in Los Angeles County, you can check the status of the lawsuit on the court's website. On the site, hover the cursor over "online services" on the menu, then scroll down and click on "case summary." From there, you can use the case number to search for your case and see its status. The case number will be on the complaint they served on you in January.

By now, since you did not respond, odds are there is a default and default judgment entered against. That essentially means that you lost the lawsuit by default for failure to respond. The judgment will allow the plaintiff to try to collect against your assets, e.g., bank accounts, paychecks, and putting liens on property.

However, many judgment-creditors would rather settle the judgment instead of hunting down assets and trying to collect against your will. Given your situation, you may be able to negotiate a settlement of the judgment. Depending on the creditor, you may even be able to pay it off in installments.

Be aware that a judgment accrues 10 percent simple interest per year, and that the judgment-creditor can renew the judgment so that it never expires. For that reason, you will want to settle or resolve this before the judgment gets even bigger.

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