If you are served with a Summons and Complaint to start a court case against you, file an “Answer.” Don't ignore the papers and don't miss the deadline to Answer. If you don't Answer, you lose the case from the start.

To file an Answer, go to the clerk’s office in the courthouse where the case was filed and fill out an answer form. This is your response as the defendant (the person being sued) to the the plaintiff (the medical provider or company who filed the lawsuit). Include your defenses, which are reasons why the plaintiff should not win. Some defenses include:

  • general denial
  • problems with the way the summons and complaint were filled out or delivered to you
  • suing for the wrong amount
  • trying to collect all the debt because you missed one payment
  • insurance issues
  • it's too late to sue ("statute of limitations")
  • bankruptcy
  • duress (you felt forced to agree to the payback terms)
  • extreme unfairness ("unconscionability")
  • you are not responsible for the debt
  • another company owns your debt now
  • and more

This resource will help you understand how to respond by filing an Answer and what you should put in your Answer.

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Last Reviewed: May 25, 2023