Bankruptcy Law Questions? Ask a Bankruptcy Lawyer Now.
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If you were to file bankruptcy, you should be able to have the debt discharged as an unsecured debt.....and not pay anything (or very little) based on your income. Thus, if you want to avoid the debt, that's likely the best way to approach it.
However, if you would like to avoid bankruptcy, you may want to try and offer the creditor a settlement and see if you can resolve the matter without a legal action. Generally, a creditor will accept a lump sum offer of half of the debt. There is no obligation for the lender to accept such an offer, but it generally will do just that if the offer is reasonable.
No, there's not much of a need to hire a lawyer. If you tell the creditor your offer and that you'll be forced to file bankruptcy if they proceed, that's about as much as a lawyer would do for you.