Can You Avoid the Server in a Collections Lawsuit Forever?
If you have mounting debts behind you, you may end up facing a debt collection lawsuit at some point. This problem is not uncommon; there are roughly 30 million Americans who have at least one debt in collections. While avoiding the process server does delay you in getting bad news, it can cause some problems for you later on.
The Lawsuit Still Happens Even if You Aren’t Served
There are some important things to know if you are considering trying to hide from a process server for a debt collections lawsuit. For starters, you should understand that avoiding the process server will not actually keep you from having to go to court. Technically speaking, the court date could proceed without you knowing about it. However, the server is expected to put forth a good faith effort to find you.
When the server cannot get in touch with you right away, they could attempt a variety of other contact methods. They might try to visit your workplace or last known address. If this does not work, the state of New Jersey lets the server leave a copy of the summons at your address or give it to anyone else in your household who is over the age of 14. For people without a known address, the plaintiff can put a notice in a local newspaper informing you of the upcoming lawsuit.
There May Be Legal Consequences to Avoiding the Server
Avoiding a process server means you might end up being the subject of a lawsuit that you are not aware of. If a roommate throws away the papers or the notice is published in a newspaper you never see, you have no way of knowing the time and date of the lawsuit. This is a big problem because the judge usually rules in favor of the plaintiff if the other party does not show up.
Another problem with avoiding a process server in New Jersey is that you end up not having the time to prepare your defense. The legal process of being served with a lawsuit is meant to give you time to find a New Jersey lawyer and get ready for your case. If you are dragging out the process of being served, you end up without enough time to defend yourself or work with the people suing you to find a reasonable settlement.
Being Served Doesn’t Mean You Can’t File for Bankruptcy
A major reason people want to avoid a process server in a debt collections lawsuit is because they plan on addressing the lawsuit by filing for bankruptcy. Depending on your situation, it is true that bankruptcy can help manage the consequences of a debt collections suit. However, this does not mean you have to resort to elaborate methods of hiding from process servers. As a bankruptcy lawyer can help you understand, you still have the opportunity to restructure your debts regardless of whether any lawsuits have been filed or judgments have been entered. However, it is still usually best to file for bankruptcy between the time of being served and going to trial because it lets you get started on the process as soon as possible.
It is tempting to avoid bad news and hope that it goes away, but trying to hide from a debt collections lawsuit never ends well. To get a good outcome from your case, you need to let yourself be served so you can meet with a lawyer and get started on your defense. Neuner & Ventura LLP has spent over 30 years helping the residents of New Jersey deal with debt and bankruptcy issues. Our law firm has the experience needed to help with these sensitive issues. Contact our practice in Marlton, NJ, today at (856) 596-2828 or email us to set up your free initial consultation.