Women tearing up papers from a dismissed debt lawsuit

How to Get a Debt Lawsuit Dismissed

Being sued for a debt can be a stressful and intimidating experience. How you should proceed in these circumstances can vary depending on a range of factors.

In some instances, it may be possible to demonstrate to the court why a debt lawsuit against you should be dismissed. If the court dismisses the case, you will have essentially “won” automatically.

Ways you may be able to have a debt lawsuit against you dismissed include the following:

Showing the Debt Has Been Paid

Debt collectors and other such parties can make mistakes. Perhaps someone is currently suing you for a debt you have already paid. If you can show the court sufficient documentation of payment, the court may dismiss the lawsuit.

Showing You Don’t Owe the Debt

Even if you haven’t technically paid the debt being sought, you might be able to show that you don’t actually owe it.

Again, errors happen when debt collectors seek payment. Perhaps the individual who actually owes the debt in question has the same name as you or a very similar name. Or, maybe someone stole your identity and committed fraud.

Showing the Statute of Limitations Has Expired

The statute of limitations (which can vary from one state to another) establishes a deadline by which one must file a debt lawsuit. You could easily have your case dismissed if you can show that the party suing you waited too long to take legal action.

Pursuing Documentation of Debt

An attorney can assist you with this strategy. It involves contacting the party suing you asking for documentation proving you owe the debt.

In some cases, debt collectors and similar parties file numerous claims and lawsuits seeking debts. They may thus be slow to respond to an attorney’s request for files and documents showing the lawyer’s client owes what a debt collector is seeking. If an attorney gets aggressive and threatens to bring the debt collector to court if they don’t provide the requested documents in a timely manner, although there’s no guarantee they will respond this way, sometimes, they drop their case altogether.

Even if the debt collector or other party suing you does provide the requested documentation, an attorney could still review it for mistakes. If they find any significant errors, they may succeed in showing the court why your case should be dismissed.

Understanding the Process of Getting a Debt Lawsuit Dismissed

Although your strategy may differ somewhat depending on the details of the situation, the process of having a debt lawsuit dismissed typically involves the following steps:

  • Respond: Don’t ignore the issue when you receive notification that someone has filed or is filing a debt lawsuit against you. Read the notice carefully and respond within the timeframe stated on the notice. If you fail to respond to the notice within the stated timeframe, the court may issue a default judgment against you, even if you don’t think you owe what is being sought.
  • Gather evidence: Regardless of what strategy to employ in an attempt to have your lawsuit dismissed, you will likely need to gather certain forms of evidence (such as documentation of having already paid a debt) to strengthen your case.
  • File a motion to dismiss: If you genuinely believe the case against you isn’t valid and you have evidence to support your case, you may proceed to file a motion to dismiss. Another option is to negotiate with the party who filed the lawsuit to settle your case out of court.

Be aware that navigating this process can prove challenging if you lack experience with these matters. One way to simplify the process is to hire an attorney to represent you. A lawyer can review your case, explain potential strategies, and assist you with everything from filing paperwork to gathering documentation if you decide to hire them.

The main point to keep in mind is that you may have options when someone sues you for a debt. Although this isn’t always applicable, sometimes, having the case dismissed is among those options.

Debt Legal Defense is a San Antonio, Texas law firm offering clients protection against debt collectors. The firm often represents clients struggling due to medical debt.