What happens if I am sued, lose and have no job, money, or assests to pay?

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What happens if I am sued, lose and have no job, money, or assests to pay?

2 former college roommates and I are currently behind sued for $58,000 for damages caused by a pipe freezing within the apartment building that we stayed in. The landlord’s insurance company say we are to blame because we left the heat off in the apartment, which is entirely untrue. If I lose the case and have no assets whatsoever (money, property, wages. I don’t even have money for a lawyer), how can they take what I do not have have? Also, what happens if I refuse to pay?

Asked on December 15, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Maryland

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Well, first off if you have no money then go and see if you qualify for legal help from legal aid.  You need to defend yourself here.  It is not a good situation.  If you do not do anything like answer the complaint then they will take a default against you and enter a judgement for the entire amount.  Judgements can stay around for a long, long time (in some states 20 years) and that would mean that they can collect from any of you (if you are held what is known as jointly and severally liable) up until then: garnishment, line on any property you won, levy against a bank account - whatever.  Bankruptcy may be an option for you but that will also follow you for a long time.  Try and find some free or low cost legal help.  And bring your proof.  Good luck.


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