January 20, 2021
Summary: The best way to settle a debt lawsuit is first to file a response, then to contact the otherside and make an offer. You can use SoloSuit to respond in just 15 minutes. This gives you the leverage you need to settle.
Typically if you have been served with a creditor's summons, it does not come as a shock. Most often, you will have known that you were behind in debt payments. Regardless of whether your summons is a surprise or expected, you must take appropriate action. This most often comes in the form of settling the debt.
Although the best step is to contact an attorney for representation, this is not always financially possible. Being served often feels like your mistakes are catching up with you, but you still have options. Consider these tips to settle your debt after being served.
If you have been served, then it is probably because you have not paid a debt. Typically you will not receive a summons because you forget to pay your credit card one time, but, most likely, it means that you have avoided paying a bill for quite a while.
The summons is essentially your creditor telling you that they no longer want to continue asking you to pay your bills. Being served means that they have filed a lawsuit in hopes of forcing you into paying it.
Although it varies from state to state, a creditor can usually garnish your wages and even go into your bank accounts to reclaim the money you owe them. If you respond promptly, then you might be able to avoid this.
The best option is to settle the debt immediately. If you are unable to pay the debt in one payment, then there may be options to make monthly payments as well. These monthly payments may, or may not, include interest. This interest rate can typically be negotiated.
If you have a lump sum of money saved away, then this is a good bargaining chip. In this case, you may be able to negotiate a deal. Typically the creditor will need to agree to the lump sum, but this can make your lawsuit disappear.
Declaring bankruptcy is the worst possible option. Despite this, if you do not have a lot of income and you have more debt than this summons, it is an option. Be aware that bankruptcy should only be used as a last resort.
The moment you are served the clock starts ticking, meaning you have minimal time to respond before matters get worse. Despite this, after being served, the first thing you should do is stay calm. Next, you should go through the following steps to ensure that you settle your debt after being served.
It is essential to respond to a summons immediately. This will ensure that you have a better chance to settle your debt after being served. If you miss your opportunity to file an answer to being served, then the debt collector may file for a default judgment. This will prompt wage garnishment, and you will no longer be able to negotiate your debt.
Look through all of the papers that you have been served with. Ensure that you do in fact owe money to the company that is attempting to collect a debt from you. Ask yourself a few questions:
This is not a question of if you can pay the debt, but simply a question of it you are legally liable to pay for it.
Once you understand all that you are legally liable to pay for, it is important to understand what the creditors can legally take from you if they obtain a judgment.
If you own your home, then this is one item the creditors may be able to claim in a judgment. If you rent your domicile, then this is not something to worry about.
Creditors do have the option to freeze your bank accounts and garnish your wages. It is a good idea to calculate how much the creditors may be able to take in wage garnishment. This will not only allow you to prepare, but it may be able to ease your mind as well.
If the only income you receive is from Social Security, then your accounts cannot be legally frozen, and there is nothing for them to come after.
Similar to what we discussed previously, you have the option to negotiate your settlement. One tip to remember is to offer more than what they would get if they obtained a judgment. If you offer less, they may deny your offer.
Put together a realistic offer based on your finances and the debt itself. If you are struggling to come up with the money look at your valuable possessions. What can you sell that would not be detrimental to your life?
In your negotiations, the creditor may allow you to pay monthly installments. This might be the best option if you do not have enough for a lump sum payment. You will also have more negotiating power by offering a lump sum versus paying monthly.
Although you may want to settle your debt after being served, sometimes it does not happen. Be prepared to defend yourself to creditors because it will show that you are serious. The debt collector might be worried that they will lose the case, which means that you win and they will get nothing in the end.
Regardless of what happens, all you can do is prepare yourself and No matter what you decide to do, there are always opportunities for you to settle a credit card debt. Be sure to create a strategy to ensure you have a better chance of settling your debts or winning your judgment.
SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.
How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.
"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James
Here's a list of guides for other states.
Being sued by a different debt collector? We're making guides on how to beat each one.
Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.
Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.