As soon as a case is filed, there is an automatic stay that protects you from your creditors, and they can’t continue to try to collect their debts from you unless they follow the laws carefully.
- If creditors violate these laws, you may be able to sue them to stop them from further action.
Most of the violations I see in my clients’ cases are minor infractions such as a single bill or collection call from a creditor.
For my clients who receive a simple bill after their case is filed, I may first send a letter asking the creditor to stop all further collection attempts. I find a letter often halts all actions by the creditor and that is the ultimate goal for my clients. Furthermore, my court frowns upon lawsuits filed in response to a single bill.
However if creditor act in a more agressive, overt, repetitive or reckless manner, they may be met with a lawsuit instead.
If a debtor has a more serious violation or the creditor has been warned already, a more aggressive approach may be warranted. Lawsuits, sanctions and motions are usually filed against creditors in order to stop further collection efforts and/or to punish them so they stop that particular behavior in the future.
Sometimes creditors violate the stay a second time, even after a judge sanctioned them for an earlier violation. It is important that debtors and their attorneys keep careful track of what the creditors say and do, and also whether or not they knew that the client was in bankruptcy.
Should further action be necessary, attorneys can discuss a variety of options for any attorney fees the client may face, depending on the particular circumstances of the case. Sometimes the attorney will require that the client agree to pay for the suit but if possible we like to try to collect the attorney fees from the creditor, which is certainly made easier by having a strong case against them.
If you filed for bankruptcy and a creditor is contacting you about payment then you should speak to your attorney to evaluate whether or not you have a case to bring against the creditor, but most importantly how to make the creditor stop any future collection efforts.
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Last modified: February 22, 2013