Dena Standley | October 25, 2022
Summary: If you are being sued for a debt in Pennsylvania, you can access your records by visiting the courthouse where the lawsuit was filed or online. Use SoloSuit to draft and file an Answer document in response to your lawsuit and increase your chances of winning by 7x.
The thought of your creditors gaining access to your bank account or the court allowing them to garnish your wages can be terrifying. You never thought you'd get to this point when you took out a loan or signed up for a credit card. Many consumers find themselves plunged into debt due to unplanned emergencies, sudden loss of a job, or overspending.
The good news is that Pennsylvania gives you a fighting chance in your pending case by allowing you quick and easy access to your court records online or by making a trip to the courthouse where the case is filed. You have a constitutional right to view your records and make copies for personal use. Today, we will help you navigate the Pennsylvania court system and show you how to access your court records.
But first, have you filed your Answer? If not, you need to do so immediately, and the following video will give tips on responding to a debt collection lawsuit in Pennsylvania:
When you understand which court has jurisdiction over your case, you’ll know which court to call to check your case status or where to attend any scheduled hearings or trials. Since debt collection lawsuits are considered civil cases, we will focus on Pennsylvania’s civil court structure in this section.
Pennsylvania has one of the oldest Unified Judicial Systems in the United States. It began as local courts before the 1700s to the current automated statewide judicial system. The courts are divided into four levels: Highest appellate court, intermediate appellate courts, court of common pleas,, and the minor courts. Let's discuss each briefly:
Your debt collection case will either be heard by the Court of Common Pleas, Magisterial District Court, or Municipal Court, depending on the amount involved and where you live.
The graphic below further outlines the Pennsylvania court structure:
A case number is a combination of letters, characters, and digits that help to identify each matter filed with the courts. Once the court accepts to process and hear your matter, you automatically receive the case number in the lawsuit. Court clerks can use the following information to derive a case number:
If you don’t know your case number, you can make a trip to the courthouse and get assistance from the court clerk by submitting an official request. Alternatively, you can go to the Pennsylvania online platform and use the available options to search for a case.
Accessing court records has helped consumers avoid plunging deeper into debt after using the information to strike a deal with the collection agency or get a favorable judgment. Pennsylvania makes accessing case documents relatively easy whether you get them online or by visiting the courthouse.
Going to the courthouse to get your documents is an option if you live within minutes of the courthouse or prefer talking to the court clerk face-to-face for additional help. The first step is to find out the court's location using this Pennsylvania courts directory. Hover over the map until you find your county, and click on it. You’ll be redirected to a page containing the contact information for the courthouse, including the physical address.
At the courthouse, you'll be asked to fill out a written request giving vital information that will be used to locate the records in the system. Some courthouses provide self-service terminals for individuals to search the record. You may be charged a small fee for the services provided.
Let’s explore an example.
Example: Sean had a debt of $7,645 with GABS Robins as a result of identity theft. Sean tried to explain his situation to GABS agents, but they didn't buy his story. Instead, they delivered a lawsuit letter to his office. He immediately sought help from a debt management counselor, and they advised him to respond to the lawsuit immediately and look for evidence to present it in court. Sean responded using SoloSuit’s Answer document and began preparing for court by gathering important documents. Part of these documents included obtaining his court records. Hence, he looked for Elk County’s courthouse on the Pennsylvania website and then visited the court clerk for assistance. He paid $4.50 for the copies. After submitting his Answer and getting copies, Sean stayed update on his case by searching the case status online.
Online access is the simplest and quickest way to find your records if you know your case number. The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania Web Portal allows its citizen to have instant access to case records using the following options for civil cases:
The result will bring your case records only or with several others, depending on the accuracy of the information entered. Look for your records on the result list, or use another option that narrows your search further. For a comprehensive case file, you may need to visit the courthouse.
At SoloSuit, we offer a range of documents that can help you deal with your debt situation. For instance, our Debt Validation Letter requests the creditors to verify the debt is yours before they file a lawsuit; the Answer helps you respond to the lawsuit; our Motion to Compel Arbitration forces a lawsuit out of court, and our SoloSettle Tool requests the creditor to settle out of court. Talk to us for further guidance on which document suits your needs.
SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.
You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.
SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.
"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.
>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate
>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit. (We can help you in all 50 states.)
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