Chloe Meltzer | October 19, 2022
Summary: If a debt collector has sued you for a past debt, you're not alone. SoloSuit can help you take the steps you need to win the lawsuit.
If you find yourself as the defendant in a lawsuit filed by one of your creditors, you are not alone. Millions of Americans find themselves in this exact situation every year. So, despite the nerve wracking aspect of being served with a Summons about an impending court date, you do not have to go through this alone.
Of course, you can hire a high priced attorney and that might serve you well. Though most people in this particular situation do not have endless resources for a top flight attorney, and in some cases, paying an attorney costs more than the debt owed. So, what is your best option?
Besides hiring an expensive mouthpiece, you can ignore the lawsuit altogether. The fear of being named in a suit can immobilize many people. This avenue usually results in the worst outcomes for the individual being sued. Generally speaking, sticking your head in the sand usually doesn't end well in any situation.
If you don't have the money to hire an attorney and you don't want to imitate an ostrich, there is only one option remaining: Prepare to defend yourself in the lawsuit. Without a doubt, this option can provide a good outcome for you, but it will take some time and work.
SoloSuit's CEO, George Simons, explains the best ways to beat debt collectors in this video:
So, how do you know if you are being sued by one of your creditors? The usual first formal step is the creditor serving you with a court Summons and Complaint. The Summons is an official notification that the creditor has filed a lawsuit with the courts with the intention to collect the debt in question. The Complaint outlines all the specific allegations against you, including the amount you owe and other important information about the debt. After you get past the initial shock of being served a Summons and Complaint, it is time for you to take action because the clock is ticking. This is where SoloSuit can help.
The first step you should take is to file a written Answer to the Summons and Complaint. You have the right to respond to each and every point made in the Complaint. Whether you know 100% that you owe the debt in question or you haven't the faintest idea what the debt is about, you should always respond to avoid a default judgment.
This flowchart further outlines the debt lawsuit process and the possible routes it can take:
If you choose to ignore the Summons and Complaint, the creditor will most likely seek and obtain a default judgment against you. With a default judgment, the creditor can garnish your wages and seize your property. Filing an Answer will most likely give you an advantage in the lawsuit. By responding to the Summons, you are forcing the creditor to prove in a court of law that every allegation they have made regarding the debt is accurate and beyond reproach. Many creditors would rather dismiss the case than spend the time and resources it takes to prove their claims.
Submitting your Answer protects your best interests. The courts will not blindly accept the allegations made by the creditor unless you fail to provide an Answer. Doing this shifts the burden of proof to the creditor to every single allegation they made in the original Complaint.
Keep in mind that creditors hope consumers don't respond to their Complaint. Should that happen, they will waste no time in securing a default judgment against you. That's why it is essential to respond to their allegations. Consumers who do respond find that they open the door to a favorable settlement with the creditor. That's not even the best possible result because by shifting the burden of proof back to the creditor, it may even lead to the courts dismissing in your favor if they cannot prove their allegations.
This video describes 6 easy steps for drafting an Answer:
You have to submit your Answer to the Summons in a timely manner. Depending on the state, you have anywhere from 14 to 30 days to file your Answer with the proper affirmative defenses. So, time is of the essence. Don't go into this alone. See what help and information SoloSuit can provide to you in this time of need.
Submitting your Answer with affirmative defenses is the first step. It will not miraculously be the end of the lawsuit. The mere fact that the creditor filed the suit should tell you they mean business. They have the intention to have a court approved opinion that you owe this debt. They will have a legal team ready to work against you to insure they can collect on this debt. Simply because you responded to their allegations doesn't mean that they are ready to toss in the towel in their attempt to secure full payment of the account. If they took the action of filing the lawsuit and serving you with the Summons, they aren't about to quit because you responded to their allegations.
The submitted affirmative defenses puts the ball back in the creditor's court. They then have a limited amount of time to provide you and the court the documentation that proves their allegations. Even if they were to provide some documentation, you have the right to demand the accounting of the alleged debt. This is your opportunity to hold the creditor accountable for taking legal action against you.
During this process, you have to make sure you do the following:
Without attorney representation, this might seem all too impossible. You have the right to protect yourself in any civil suit. Find out what you can do if you were to ever find yourself on the wrong end of a Summons.
"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
You can ask your questions on the SoloSuit forum and the community will help you out. Whether you need help now or are just looking for support, we're here for you.
Here's a list of guides for other states.
Being sued by a different debt collector? Were making guides on how to beat each one.
Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.
Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.
Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.