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Served today (Illinois)


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Hello folks,

So, I screwed up pretty bad. I had a car that I owned about $12k, and I got into an accident with no insurance (long story, but I guess the bottom line is still that I'm an idiot). I hadn't heard much from Ford, I guess they didn't even really try to collect on the debt and went straight to the courts.

The problem is that I'm completely and totally broke now. I lost my job (since I needed a car for it) and now I'm making much less money. In fact, I make so little money now that I can barely pay my rent, food, and bills - I have no money for anything else at the end of the month.

So I came home today and I found a summons left at my doorstep. I have no money for a lawyer so I'm not even sure where to begin. I'm posting here hoping someone can at least get me pointed in the right direction.

Also, I was trying to save up to declare bankruptcy - is that a moot point now? Or can that still help me?

Here are the answers to the questions:

1. Who is suing you? Ford Motor Credit Company, LLC

2. For how much? 10,405.22

3. Who is the original creditor? Ford Motor Credit Company, LLC

4. How do you know you are being sued? Received summons today

5. How were you served? Were you served? Papers were left at my door for Alias Summons.

6. What was your correspondence (if any) with the people suing you before you think you were being sued? Received some correspondence saying that they repaired and sold the car (which they sold for around $3k)

7. Where do you live? Chicago, IL

8. When is the last time you paid on this account? Before the crash, which was around April 2008.

9. What is the status of your case (if anything has been opened)? You can find this by a) calling the court or B) looking it up online (many states have this information posted daily). I'm not sure where to find this, I'm sorry. I think it's too late to call the court.

10. Have you disputed the debt with the credit bureaus (both the original creditor and the collection agency?) No

11. Did you request debt validation before the suit was filed? If not, don't bother doing this now. No idea what that is.

12. Does your summons require a response? (Look hard!) If you don't get a questionnaire with your summons, you are still probably required to answer it in writing. If you don't respond to the lawsuit notice you will lose automatically. In 99% of the cases, they will require you to answer the summons, and each point they are claiming. We need to know what the "charges" are. Please post what they are claiming. Did you receive an interrogatory (questionnaire) regarding the lawsuit? It says I'm required to file a written response by 9:30 AM on 6/9. I didn't receive any kind of questionnaire regarding the lawsuit.

13. What evidence did they send with the summons? An affadavit? A statement from the OC? Anything else they attached as exhibits? They attached the contract agreement and other records showing the debt.

14. What is the SOL on the debt? I think it's 10 years, according to the chart (I think this is either a Written Contract or a Promissory Contract, both are 10 years).

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At this point I'd suggest you beg, borrow or steal from a relative, or any where else you can find it, the money to see an attorney about that BK you were thinking of. A stay from the BK court will put a hold on the present action.

If you must go the other way, File an answer with the court.

Other options; contact Ford about a settlement (their attorneys at this point) if you want to avoid the whole court thing. They may well have you agree to a judgment if you do not follow the settlement agreement to the letter.

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You have to answer the summons and appear in court or the judge will consider your non-answer as a default admission that the facts Ford states are true. If a default judgment is rendered against you, the judge will grant Ford whatever they ask for in damages.

So at the very least show up! If you don't the amount they are claiming can easily double.

In Illinois a judgment holder can add 12% annual interest to the unpaid amount and can hold you to the judgment for 20-years, with one extra 20-year renewal for a total of 40-years! They can also garnish your wages and take up to 25% of what you earn right out of your paychecks.

If you show up for court and simply show the judge that you are unable to pay without severe hardship, then the judge can at least enter an order preventing Ford from taking what you cannot afford to give up. However, Ford will be able to call you into court annually to question your finances and you will have to show up. If a judgment holder summons you to court for an asset hearing you must show up or the judge can issue a warrant for your arrest for failing to show up.

I strongly recommend you seek legal counsel from a free public source. Call the Chicago Bar association and explain your situation. They should be able to refer you to a public aid legal person that can help. Bankruptcy would put a stop to the whole thing and discharge all your debts. A legal aid associate should be able to help fill out the paperwork and you can apply for a waiver of the court fees if your income is extremely low.

As for not carrying insurance on your vehicle, consider yourself lucky you are not in prison. Illinois takes uninsured motorists more seriously than other States and considers it a criminal offense. I wouldn't mention the fact you wrecked the car with no insurance or the judge may "throw the book" at you.

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At this point I'd suggest you beg, borrow or steal from a relative, or any where else you can find it, the money to see an attorney about that BK you were thinking of. A stay from the BK court will put a hold on the present action.

If you must go the other way, File an answer with the court.

Other options; contact Ford about a settlement (their attorneys at this point) if you want to avoid the whole court thing. They may well have you agree to a judgment if you do not follow the settlement agreement to the letter.

If I do file for bankruptcy, do I have enough time? My understanding is that it takes several months for the bankruptcy to kick in.

If I do file an answer in court, what will happen? Can they still garnish my wages, even though I'm making less than $16k a year?

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You have to answer the summons and appear in court or the judge will consider your non-answer as a default admission that the facts Ford states are true. If a default judgment is rendered against you, the judge will grant Ford whatever they ask for in damages.

So at the very least show up! If you don't the amount they are claiming can easily double.

In Illinois a judgment holder can add 12% annual interest to the unpaid amount and can hold you to the judgment for 20-years, with one extra 20-year renewal for a total of 40-years! They can also garnish your wages and take up to 25% of what you earn right out of your paychecks.

If you show up for court and simply show the judge that you are unable to pay without severe hardship, then the judge can at least enter an order preventing Ford from taking what you cannot afford to give up. However, Ford will be able to call you into court annually to question your finances and you will have to show up. If a judgment holder summons you to court for an asset hearing you must show up or the judge can issue a warrant for your arrest for failing to show up.

I strongly recommend you seek legal counsel from a free public source. Call the Chicago Bar association and explain your situation. They should be able to refer you to a public aid legal person that can help.

As for not carrying insurance on your vehicle, consider yourself lucky you are not in prison. Illinois takes uninsured motorists more seriously than other States and considers it a criminal offense. I wouldn't mention the fact you wrecked the car with no insurance or the judge may "throw the book" at you.

Thank you very much for that info. As for the no insurance claim, I know I dodged a bullet with that one. I already had my day in court for that and it was thrown out. :shock:

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My understanding is that it takes several months for the bankruptcy to kick in.

As soon as your paperwork is filed with the Federal court, you are under their protection and all other colleciton actions, including this Ford lawsuit, must cease. You still may have to show up in court to tell the local judge you filed bankruptcy in order to prevent a judgement order from being entered and causing the bankruptcy to become more complex.

A simple bankruptcy takes about 90 days to complete, but you are protected from day 1 by the Federal court.

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As soon as your paperwork is filed with the Federal court, you are under their protection and all other colleciton actions, including this Ford lawsuit, must cease. You still may have to show up in court to tell the local judge you filed bankruptcy in order to prevent a judgement order from being entered and causing the bankruptcy to become more complex.

A simple bankruptcy takes about 90 days to complete, but you are protected from day 1 by the Federal court.

Ok... well then, it sounds to me like that's my best course. I did speak to a bankruptcy lawyer about this shortly after the incident - sounds like I need to give him a call, and beg my parents.

Do I still need to have the bankruptcy filed before June 6th?

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Let us rewind here for a minute.You say they repaired and sold the car. Did they repossess it or did you voluntarily surrender it? If they did indeed repossess it did they follow the legal requirements to do so? If they did not then the underlying action may be flawed in which case you do have a defence.

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