Questions & Answers
No. This is probably the most common misunderstanding about a lawsuit. The Appearance Date or Return Date is a deadline to file an Appearance and Jury Demand. It is not a court date and you don't have to go to court.
An Appearance is a document you file with the court to let it know you are going to participate in the lawsuit. You file the Appearance after you've been served with a lawsuit before the Appearance Date or Return Date deadline. You have an option of making a Jury Demand which we almost always recommend doing.
In Cook County, collection lawsuit trials are either in front of a judge (bench trial) or with a jury or your peers.
A Default Judgment could be entered against you. A Default Judgment means the case is over, the debt collector wins.
With a Default Judgment a debt collector can freeze your bank accounts and take money out, garnish your wages, and put a lien on any property you have. In Illinois they can also charge 9% interest until the full amount is paid. Debt collectors count on a Default Judgment since 90% of people don't show up in court and have a Default Judgment entered against them.