How to Answer the Petition When You’re Sued for Debt
When you’re sued for debt, one of the first things you have to do is write and file an Answer. This is your formal response to the lawsuit. You could lose the case very easily usually automatically – until you do. Luckily, it isn’t hard, and this video and article will show you how. For more detailed information and help on fighting and winning your suit against the debt collector, get the Debt Defense System.
Answering a petition in a debt law case is actually very simple. Keeping in mind that it is up to the plaintiff to prove its case if you deny a part of the petition, there is little incentive to admit anything.
Should you Admit or Deny?
Pro se defendants also frequently overestimate the things they should admit. For example, you may know that you borrowed some money or used a credit card, but do you really know how much you borrowed or whether all the charges were legitimate? Do you know for sure that you did not pay some of the debt or that you truly, legally, owed every amount claimed? And do you know with certainty even that the company suing you owns the debt at all?
In most cases, the answers to these questions is legitimately “no.”
Most people do not keep careful enough track of their credit card bills (or other bills) to need to admit either the fact or amount of debt. And there’s really no way you could know whether you owe anything to a third-party debt collector.
With those things in mind, answering the petition is easy. It will usually go something like this:
The reason an Answer is so easy is that the pleadings stage – the petition and answer – really exist just to tell the court what issues need to be proved. Since you want the debt collector to prove its whole case, you deny every allegation.
There’s Much More to Pro Se Defense
Of course that’s just the first step in the process of defending yourself. You will also need to consider whether you have a counterclaim. If so, you should submit that as part of your Answer. And then you need to try to win the case. The Answer frames the issues, and you will need to conduct discovery and do some legal research to win the case. It isn’t always easy, but putting up a legitimate fight is within the ability of anyone. And fighting is often all you need to do to win.