Creditors try to avoid going to court to collect their debts. They usually prefer to work out payment plans with debtors because the litigation process can be costly and time-consuming. It is possible, however, to be sued for a debt. This is especially true if you missed multiple payments or failed to communicate with the creditor. If you have been sued for a debt, you should know that you still have options. You may even have a defense to the claim. One defense is that the creditor did not file the lawsuit within the statute of limitations.
Every state has statute of limitation laws. The statute of limitations is the time limit that a party has to file a lawsuit. If the lawsuit is not filed within that limit, the lawsuit will be dismissed.
Under Pennsylvania law, the statute of limitations for collecting debts generally is four years. This means that a creditor must sue a debtor within four years from the date when a debt becomes delinquent. The 4-year limitation covers most debts, including medical debt and credit card debt.
For example, let’s say that the last payment you made on a credit card debt was January 5, 2015. If you do not make any more payments, the credit card company has until January 4, 2019 to file a lawsuit against you. If the company does not sue you by that date, the claim is barred by Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations.
In addition to the statute of limitations, you may have other defenses to a debt claim. To learn more, you should consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Since every person’s case is different, an attorney can evaluate your situation and help you make informed decisions about how to proceed.