Are you currently facing a debt collection lawsuit in Texas? While facing a debt lawsuit may feel overwhelming and uncertain, you have legal options to resolve it. Depending on the circumstances specific to your case, you may be able to get the lawsuit dismissed. Below, our Texas debt collection defense attorneys discuss how to get a debt lawsuit dismissed.
Step 1: Schedule a Consultation With a Texas Debt Defense Attorney
Regardless of whether a credit card company or debt buyer is suing you, we recommend consulting with an experienced debt defense attorney. An attorney can help you in many ways, from helping you understand your legal options to gathering evidence and representing and defending you through case resolution.
At Warren & Migliaccio , we represent and defend individuals like you in debt collection lawsuits throughout Texas. We have extensive experience and a successful track record in assisting our clients in resolving debt lawsuits. In some cases, we are able to get a lawsuit against our client dismissed. A few ways we help our clients include, but are not limited to:
If a creditor or debt collector sues you, we encourage you to contact us. During a consultation, we can review the claims against you and help you determine your best options for putting the lawsuit behind you. Call us at (888) 584-9614 or contact us online to schedule your consultation today.
Step 2: Answer the Lawsuit
In Texas, you have a specific amount of time to file a formal response to the lawsuit, depending on the court handling your case. You have 20 days to respond in any Texas county or district court. In Texas justice courts, sometimes referred to as a small claims court, you have 14 days to respond to the court summons.
You should always answer the lawsuit within the allotted time frame. You can use our guide about responding to a debt lawsuit to help you with your response and the court forms you will need. However, we recommend working with an experienced Texas debt defense lawyer to best protect your interests and ensure you do not make any mistakes that could hurt your case.
If you miss this deadline, the debt collector may get a default judgment against you. A default judgment essentially means you lose the case, and the debt collector wins, even if you do not recognize the debt and believe you do not owe it. A default judgment can result in serious consequences, including the freezing of your bank account and the loss of access to your money. In my years of helping folks with debt problems, a bank account garnishment is one of the most frustrating a difficult situations to deal with. So, if you face a debt lawsuit, ensure that you promptly file your answer to the lawsuit.
Step 3: Collect Evidence to Support the Case Dismissal
To secure the case’s dismissal, you require supporting evidence for the dismissal. First, you should demand debt validation from the debt collector. Just because someone claims you owe them money does not mean they have the legal right to sue. It is common for debts to be bought and sold multiple times. The debt collector must prove that the debt is yours, that you owe it, and that it has the right to collect it .
You should look for any errors with the debt collector’s claim. Scrutinize the lawsuit for discrepancies, like wrong names, addresses, or debt amounts. Errors can lead to lawsuit dismissal. For example, think about the following questions:
- Do you recognize the debt?
- Has the debt already been paid?
- Do you actually owe the debt, or is it someone else’s debt?
- Is the amount of debt correct?
- Does the collection agency have proof that it has the right to collect it?
You should also assess other factors that may help get the case dismissed, such as:
- Statute of limitations. In Texas, creditors and debt collectors only have a certain amount of time to pursue a debt collection lawsuit. This time limit is called a statute of limitations, and it is four years in Texas . You cannot be sued for the alleged unpaid debt if the time limit has passed. Therefore, if a creditor or debt collection agency sues you after this period, you can dismiss the lawsuit.
- Proper service. Were you properly served with the lawsuit? If you were not notified in accordance with Texas law, then the case might be invalid.
If you identify errors in the lawsuit against you, you may be able to have it dismissed.
Step 4: Decide on Your Defense Strategy
Based on the strengths and weaknesses of the debt collector’s case and your financial situation, you and your attorney will decide on a debt collection defense strategy that aligns with your best interests.
For example, if you believe the lawsuit should not proceed and have evidence to support this, you can file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Another way to avoid litigation is to negotiate a settlement outside of court . You may be able to negotiate a lower amount than the original claimed debt. You may also have the option to negotiate paying the settlement amount over a period of time instead of in a single payment. For example you could settle a $10,000.00 lawsuit for $6000.00 and then stipulate that you have 12 months to pay the $6000 settlement. This would give allow you to pay $500.00 per month and that can help you with your monthly budget.
Understanding that even if you cannot secure a dismissal of the case, you may still have the potential to win the lawsuit is also crucial. You may have a strong defense to challenge and fight the lawsuit in court. But in this situation, you will need to set and wait for a court date. This can take several months or longer, and can make the case drag on for a long time. But if you have a good defense, it will most likely be worth waiting for the court date. However, waiting on trial with a debt collector is similar to playing a game of chicken because both parties often delay resolution, hoping the other will back down, resulting in mounting stress and the uncertainty of the eventual outcome, all while each side tries to outlast the other in a high-stakes standoff.
Another potential option to explore is bankruptcy, depending on your financial situation. A bankruptcy attorney from our firm can explore this option with you to determine whether you may qualify to discharge your debts through bankruptcy. This is a good option if you have debts other than the one alleged in the lawsuit. For instance, if you have thousands of dollars of credit card debt, then it may be in your best interest to file bankruptcy and address all of your debt with one bankruptcy filing verus battling each creditor individually.
You may also consider counter-suing the debt collector. For example, you might have grounds to counter-sue if the debt collector violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Schedule a Consultation With Warren & Migliaccio Today
Facing a debt collection lawsuit in Texas is undoubtedly stressful but know that you have legal options to resolve it and put it behind you. At Warren & Migliaccio , we help individuals all over Texas facing debt collection lawsuits from creditors and debt collectors.
If you are currently facing a debt lawsuit, do not hesitate to contact us about your situation. We are happy to review the claims against you, discuss potentailly how to get a credit card lawsuit dismissed in Texas, and determine how we can help you.
“If we cannot dismiss your case, we can assist you in resolving it through alternative means. For example, you may have a solid defense to fight the case in court, or you may be able to negotiate a settlement that is less than the original amount of debt claimed. The most important message to glean from this article is that when you face a debt lawsuit, you possess options. Anyone that tells you that you can only settle the lawsuit, or that you have to file bankruptcy or even go you must go to court is not providing you all your available options.