How do I file my answer in an Alabama Small Claims debt collection lawsuit?

“How do I file my answer in an Alabama Small Claims debt collection lawsuit?

debt collection lawsuitThis is a great question, especially if you’re handling your debt collection lawsuit on your own.

I can’t tell you what to do, but I can show you how the form works.  And I can help you think through the issues.

Four boxes.

When you get your answer form (which you should get when you are served), you will first see 4 boxes.

Box A

This box lets the court know, “Hey, I was sued in the wrong county. I actually live in _________ County.”

If this box applies to your case, then check the box and write down the correct information.

Box B

This box lets the court know that you agree that you agree with the plaintiff, and you owe everything that they state you owe.

If you know that the debt collector suing you owns your debt, then I would be very surprised.  How do you know that Midland Funding or Portfolio Recovery, etc. actually own your debt?

Remember there is a difference in claiming something and proving something.

“I’m the President of the United States of America” — does that mean John Watts is really the President?  Probably not.  🙂

Difference in claiming and proving….

Box C

This box lets the court know that you only owe some of what the plaintiff says you owe.

Again, I would just question how you would know this?  How do you know that Asset Acceptance or LVNV Funding or whoever owns your debt?

If you know this for a fact, then you can use your judgment on it.

Box D

This is the box that most people check.

It states that you do not owe the plaintiff and it will ask you to give some details.

Most people write the following:  “I do not owe the Plaintiff and the Statute of Limitations has expired.”

Once you check the box that’s best for you, sign where it says, “Defendant/Attorney signature.”

Make copies and scan the form once you’ve filled out the form.

Typically, you’ll want two copies and the original.

You should mail one copy to the collection attorney, and then take the original and copy to the courthouse.

The court clerk will stamp the original and put it with the original case folder.

You can also ask them to stamp your copy.

They’re very nice about this.

Once you’ve got your copy stamped as “filed,” you’ll need to scan it.

Then you should email it to yourself.

This is your proof that you’ve filed your answer.

What if the court puts your answer in the wrong case?

You’d want to be able to show them your answer was filed on the date it was filed.  So you keep the hard copy and a copy in the cloud (Dropbox, Google Drive, Gmail, etc).

Contact Us.

There’s other steps to take after you’ve filed your answer to help increase your chances of success at trial.  We’ll be happy to walk you through those steps and share some resources with you.

If you have any questions, you can give us a call at 1-205-879-2447.

Or fill out a contact form and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

We will gladly walk you through your options and help you decide the best course of action.

Have a great day!

-John G. Watts

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