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RGMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 15400
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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My wife received knee surgery about 2 1/2 years ago. I thought

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My wife received knee surgery about 2 1/2 years ago. I thought my wife was making payments, but she was not. I received a packet that stated that I am being sued for $5,000 for failure to pay hospital fees. I don't understand how to respond or what to do next. I want to pay what I owe but don't know where to start.

RGMacEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

RGMacEsq :


The first thing that you're going to want to do is to file an answer to the complaint. This is going to keep the party suing you from being able to get a "default judgment" (where they win by default merely by you not answering the complaint). After you are served, you have 30 days to file a typed response with the Court, counting holidays and weekends.

  • You Can Lose By Default:

    If you don’t file a response 30 days after you were served, the Plaintiff can file a form called “Request for Default”. The Plaintiff has to wait 30 days to file this. If the Plaintiff files this form, the Court can enter a judgment against you. The Plaintiff will win the case. Then, the Plaintiff can enforce the judgment against you.

    This can mean getting money from you by garnishing your paycheck or putting a lien on your house or car. A judgment against you can also show up on your credit report. This can make it hard to get a credit card or a loan.


RGMacEsq :


Types of Responses:

You can file most of the responses with Court forms. You can get the forms at:

Some local forms are at the Court’s Local Forms page.

You have to file a Proof of Service form with your response. (See "What is Service of Process" on the Plaintiff's "Before You Sue" page of this website.)

Here are some of the types of responses:

  • Answer:

    You can file an Answer form to respond to the Plaintiff’s complaint. It is a formal statement, in writing, of your defense. You can say that what the plaintiff claims isn’t true. Or you can say it’s true but give more information and reasons or explain the situation.

    The Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) 431.30(b) says what you should put in your Answer.

  • General Denial:

    This is a way to say that nothing in the Complaint is true. Use this if you don’t agree with anything in the Complaint.

  • Demurrer:

    You can file a Demurrer to tell the Court that the Complaint isn’t enough. You’re saying that even if the complaint is true, it’s not a legal reason for you to have to answer or be held responsible. Say your reasons.

    Note: Filing a Demurrer means that you might be admitting that what the Plaintiff says is true.

  • Motion to Strike:

    This asks the Court to take something out of the Plaintiff’s Complaint, because:

    • It’s not understandable,

    • It’s not legal,

    • It repeats itself, or

    • It doesn’t matter (called "immaterial").

    Give your reasons why the Court should take it out of the Complaint.

  • Motion to Transfer:

    This asks the Court permission to move the case to another Court. This can be a court in another County or a different type of Court. Give your reasons why the Court should let the case be moved.

  • Motion to Quash Service of Summons:

    This asks the Court to say that the Complaint wasn’t served properly. Say why service was not right.

  • Motion to Stay or Dismiss Action:

    A Motion to Stay asks the Court to put the case on hold for a while, so that something else can happen. A Motion to Dismiss asks the Court to throw out your case. Say why you want this.


RGMacEsq :

Once you file this answer, you should contact the collecting firm to see what you can find out about the debt. You should certainly do what you can to try to get the amount reduced. If you were married at the time, the debt would be "community" debt, and would be jointly owed by you, even if she was supposed to pay it. You can join her in the lawsuit, if you wish, so that you could get a judgment against her for failing to pay. You can also contact the court clerk to see about doing this.

RGMacEsq :

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!

RGMacEsq :

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

RGMacEsq, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 15400
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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