When sued by a debt collector, it can feel like one is out of options. However, the reality is that there are many arguments a Miami debt defense attorney can employ to uphold the rights of a consumer facing this type of lawsuit. Of those defenses, five are more common that others.
Below are the five ways one of our skilled attorneys may assist a debtor in defending a debt collections lawsuit in Florida.
1. Enlist the Statute of Limitations
Once a borrower defaults on a debt, the clock starts ticking on the statute of limitations. This is the time frame during which a lender can bring forward a suit, and once the period lapses the debtor is no longer legally obligated to repay what was borrowed. In Florida, the statute extends five years for debts sealed by written contracts and four years for oral agreements.
2. Demand Proof of Debts
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a debt collections lawsuit to reflect an inaccurate amount owed. This may be a result of poor documentation — or worse, the error could be deliberate. When bringing suit, it is the creditor’s responsibly to provide proof of what is owed. If the collector or original creditor is unable to provide adequate documentation, the lawsuit may be dismissed.
3. File a Counter Suit
If it is determined that the debtor’s rights have been violated, he or she has the right to counter sue. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act outlines these rights. For instance, creditors are understandably not permitted to harass or threaten debtors. If one can demonstrate that unlawful behavior occurred, he or she may be awarded significant damages.
4. Challenge the Right to Bring Suit
In some instances, the collections agency lacks the legal standing to bring a lawsuit at all. This may be the case if a transfer of debts from the original creditor to a collections agency was not properly documented, and thus not legally binding. An attorney can defend a debtor in these situations by challenging the plaintiff’s standing.
5. File for Bankruptcy
At first glance it may seem like a drastic measure, but there are some instances when a bankruptcy filing may be the best course of action for the debtor. For instance, if one owes significant debts that he or she is unlikely to be able to repay. If this is the case, our firm can recommend a reputable attorney to file the bankruptcy.
If you are facing a debt collections lawsuit in Florida, or fear you may be soon, give us a call to discuss your case. A knowledgeable Miami debt defense attorney at our firm will work with you to determine the right defense for your unique situation.