How to Write an Answer to a Debt Collection Lawsuit

If you are researching how to write an answer to a debt collection lawsuit using a template or examples for your own lawsuit, stop now. Hire a trial lawyer instead. Online examples or templates of an answer to a debt collection lawsuit can be instructive or educational. Using one in the real world, however, is setting yourself up for a disaster.

Never use a template answer in debt collection lawsuits

I cannot emphasize this point enough. Avoid websites or companies claiming they can write an answer to a lawsuit by filling out a template or giving you an example. It won’t be effective. In most cases the template or example answer will cause you more problems than it solves. The proper way to answer a civil summons for a credit card debt or other collection is to consult with an experienced consumer protection attorney.

First off, it is hard to properly write an effective answer to a debt collection lawsuit. Civil debt collection lawsuits are complicated and confusing. Allegations and averments in the debt collection complaint require careful consideration before simply answering, denying, or stating you don’t know. Courts penalize perjury and failures to properly respond. Lawsuit answer templates found online are simply not going to properly advocate and preserve your rights.

Template answers to debt collection lawsuits leave you stranded

Templates and examples of collection lawsuit answers also don’t help you answer a civil summons beyond that one early stage of the case. Think about it. What happens next? You file your template debt collection lawsuit answer and then what? You are completely on your own to answer discovery, draft discovery, file motions, or answer motions. If your case survives long enough, you are alone in arguing your case at trial. A computer template or a simpleton behind a computer with no legal training filling out a form template is not effective at addressing those matters. You need real help to write an effective answer to the complaint and you need help with the other stages of the civil collection lawsuit.

Answering a civil summons is real legal work, not programming canned responses.

Consider filing a motion to dismiss

Indeed, many cases shouldn’t answer at all but the computer template answer system ignores that fact. Sometimes filing a motion to dismiss is better. If you don’t, you waive certain defenses that could have helped you beat your debt collection lawsuit without ever filing an answer. It is malpractice for a lawyer to simply file an answer in every debt collection lawsuit without considering whether a motion to dismiss the debt collection lawsuit is a better approach.

Don’t waive any affirmative defenses in your debt collection lawsuit

Affirmative defenses are a critical part of defending yourself in a debt collection lawsuit. Answering a debt collection case with a template won’t properly preserve those defenses or protect your rights. On the contrary, a template answer to the lawsuit could easily put in in a worse position than you were in before.

For example, the statute of limitations on your debt might be expired or coming close. The court might not have subject matter jurisdiction or personal jurisdiction. There may be other technical flaws you should exploit. You might not owe the debt at all. Even so, a template answer to the debt collection lawsuit could result in your admission that you owe something you don’t.

Don’t risk it. Stay far away from online companies trying to sell you a template answer. But, if you already hired one, call us to see if it is not too late to fix all the mistakes they made in writing your template answer.

Read our other articles that explain the steps in more detail if you are still determined to learn how to draft an answer to a debt collection lawsuit. Start here for a free example to adapt to your state and your court. Good luck.

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