You’ve racked up a sizable chunk of credit card debt. Or perhaps a sudden sickness to yourself or a family member has started an onslaught of medical debt. Or maybe those private student loans have suddenly come due but the projected job has not. Now the debt collectors won’t stop contacting and harassing you with repeated calls day and night.

For those who have ever suffered the indignities of falling into any kind of debt, it’s the day you pray will never come: When a local service official shows up at your door with a certified notification of a debt lawsuit filed in your name.

Now what?

First and foremost, don’t panic. You are not alone.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 15 percent of all consumers who had encountered debt collection issues last year were eventually thrown into a debt related lawsuit.

There are several ways to defend against a debt lawsuit and even work toward debt resolution by following a few debt defense procedures, starting with a well-reviewed law firm to protect you from a debt lawsuit.

Hire an Attorney to Understand Your Rights and Fight the Debt Lawsuit

It may seem counterintuitive – I already owe so much in debt and now I’m going to take on another new expense? Well, yes. Because the advice and knowledge of a debt specialist legal group like the expert attorneys at GM Law Firm are available if you are involved in a debt lawsuit. With guidance. you can defend your position to stave off further decline to your credit rating, and may also get out of debt with a debt resolution that could whittle down the overall balance. In some cases of federal violations of certain collection practices you may even win a settle after debt dismissal as well as attorney fees. So the upside is great.

Still, less than 10 percent of people faced with a debt lawsuit actually hire an attorney. These folks then suffer poor chances of defending a debt lawsuit in a positive way.

“We like to show those deep in the throes of debt that there is light at the end of the tunnel,” says a representative from the GM Law Firm, leading experts in Florida on consumer protection lawsuits. “There are many defenses that can be strategized where the consumer’s rights are protected and often prevail.”

Acknowledge the Debt Lawsuit and Respond

Again, do not ignore the debt lawsuit. Failing to respond to the lawsuit can result in a default judgement against the debtor which opens up a laundry list of cans of worms that could mean garnished wages or direct withdrawals from bank accounts. All of which will put you further behind the debt eight ball and further tarnish your credit rating which will follow you and future purchase for the rest of your life.

In more dire situations, a consumer protection attorney is recommended if you are facing a debt lawsuit or dealing with harassing debt collectors. With a debt legal lawyer by your side, file an answer to the legal action pressed upon you filed by the collection agency which will include a denial or lack of admission that a debt is owed. The burden of proof is on the collector and delivering party of the lawsuit. Response time is key as well, and a debt lawyer can advise what is the appropriate time in your particular state.

Determining if the Lawsuit Is Legal

Oftentimes, the company who has filed a lawsuit for debt has sold the account to another company. Sometimes more than once. Whatever organization currently owns the debt has to prove they are the entity with the right to do so.

An attorney can help explain how the Fair Credit Report Act relates to a potential lawsuit while also determining the best way to get the proper documentation that meets the court’s requirements.

Understand Burden of Proof for Protection

The suing party has several things to prove including the exact amount that you owe and that you are, in fact, the party responsible for the debt. Without these details strictly defined, there can be a loophole for debt dismissal.

For example, if the debt lawsuit is based on credit card debt, then you need to amass all actions and info relating to that credit card’s activity, balances and payments throughout the course of its spending history.

Enforce Your State’s Statute of Limitations

Invoking the statute of limitations defense can be a key ally to dismissing debt. The statutes differ by state, so a debt lawsuit specialty law firm like the GM Law Firm can help find the debt lawsuit statute of limitations guidelines for your specific situation.

The statute of limitations often starts on the last day that any activity was made on that account. It’s a good idea then to consult with a legal consultant before making any payments on an existing account where a debt lawsuit is pending so as not to re-start the time of activity.

File Your Own Debt Lawsuit Against the Collectors

There are many federal regulations in place that earn protection from debt collector lawsuits or  harassment and the GM Law Firm is one entity that defends the rights of people who fell deep enough in debt to create a debt lawsuit. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act can help battle against harassing debt collectors. If found guilty, you may seek monetary compensation against the offending collector.

The most important aspect of debt defense is not only to get out of debt, but to protect your credit score from a life of low grades to affect future purchases of houses, cars and other properties. To try to keep your credit score clean and find debt resolution, contact the debt legal team at the GM Law Firm to find the best solution for debt relief and dismissal.