What to do about receipt of a civil summons?

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What to do about receipt of a civil summons?

Civil summons came in yesterday from a old wreck in 2008. They want $2300 back from me. They are suing me in a county where I don’t even live or where the wreck happened. Do I respond back to this or do I just ignore it and let them write it off? Will I go to jail? I don’t have a job so I have nothing to give them. The summons didn’t have a court date or time.

Asked on November 23, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You don't go to jail for a civil summons, and generally don't go to jail simply for owing money--there must be something else, such as a criminal act (e.g. you committed fraud and that's why you owe the money).

If you don't respond, you will lose by default or automatically. The person or business suing you will then have a judgment against you. If you don't pay the judgment, they can then look to enforce it in various ways, such as garnishing a bank account, putting a lien on property, or even possibly looking to execute on some property, such as seizing and forcing a sale of some of your assets. They could also wait on the judgment and try to enforce it later, when you have more assets worth taking. And the judgment and your default on it will be reported on your credit.


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