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I received a summons to answer for a past due medical bill.

It states I owe about...
I received a summons to answer for a past due medical bill. It states I owe about $1300.00, may be responsible for court costs & a reasonable attorneys fee.. called the court clerk and they said it would be fine to answer it in print & on plain paper. I do not wish to dispute the bill I definately owe the money. The reason it has not been paid yet is that I have been paying on bills that was farther past due than that one. My questions are. How much information do I need to put in this answer. Do I just say I take full responsibility for this bill and would like to make a payment arrangement? Do I make an offer? Who do I address it to.. Plaintiff, attorney,.. Judge?.. Also my wife is being named as well.. She received a summons seperateley. I would suppose she just needs to answer seperateley with a varying answer from mine.. Correct? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
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Answered in 17 minutes by:
5/5/2013
Roger
Roger, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 31,796
Experience: BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Bankruptcy litigation attorney. Thanks for your question.

In terms of what to put in your answer, you basically need to respond paragraph by paragraph and simply state whether or not you admit or deny the allegations of that paragraph. Here's a sample answer that you can look at and use as a go-by: http://www.northwestregisteredagent.com/lawsuit-answer.html

You don't make an offer to settle in the answer as settlement talks are not something the court will hear about in detail. Settlement talks would be something you speak directly to the creditor about.

The original answer is filed with the court clerk's office and the plaintiff's attorney would receive a copy as well.

As for your wife, she can file a separate answer OR you could actually file an answer together - - all responses would just be in the plural instead of singular. That's just a matter of preference for you.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago
Ok i looked at the link you sent and came up with my approx. response. Please let me know if i am in the ballpark or if i need to do something diffrent. Or if i should deny anything that would help me save a few $$. I just would rather not have to go to court & definately dont want them in my paycheck. Also is there any estimate on what attorney fees will be added?

Also Attached to the summons was a letter from the attorney stating to call him to make payment arrangement or possibly settle for a lesser amount. However I have tried to call him several times and get no call returned.

so on my paper it reads;
petition
1. Plaintiff is authorized by law to bring action in this county. Defendants can be properly served with process

2. Defendants are indebted to plaintiff in the sum of $1300.00 for medical services

3. Plaintiff is entitled to receive a reasonable attorneys fee.

4. Plaintiff is entitled to a order authorizing the release of employment status from oklahoma employment commission.

I am assuming these are the allegation paragraphs?

So I would say something to the effect of

1. We have been served with due process and accept the allegation.

2. We accept full responsibility for the debt to the plaintiff in the amount of $1300.00. The reason this debt has not been paid yet is due to us paying on other medical bills that were farther past due than this one, we beg the plaintiff to allow us to make some payment arrangements. and we are fully prepared to start payment on this debt immediately.

3. We accept that the plaintiff is entitled to a reasonable attorneys fee.

4. We accept that the plaintiff is entitled to an order releasing employment
records.

Thanks
Your response can be as simple as:

1. Admitted.

2. Admitted.

etc.

Anything beyond just a simple "Admitted" or "Denied' is not required, but you can say anything you wish.

As for paragraph 3., I wouldn't admit that they're due attorney's fees because the judge likely won't give this to them.

If you admit to everything, there's likely no room for settlement. Instead, the lender will take a judgment against you for what is demanded - - and once the judgment is granted, it may agree to deduct some amount in exchange for settling the debt/making a payment plan.

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Customer reply replied 4 years ago
So I should deny allegation number 3?.. Why won't a judge be like let to award an attorney fee? After all he filed the petition.. Just wondering...
Also would it be out of line to ask not to be charged court costs/ fileing fees. or a reduced cost. Or does the court costs just get added if It goes to a default judgement?.. Also..then should I deny allegation number 4 since I am fully willing to pay this bill?
Thanks again,
Brian
I can't specifically tell you what to do because I'm not your attorney. However, if it were me (or if I was representing a client in a similar issue), I would deny that attorney's fees should be awarded. Generally, courts are reluctant to award attorney's fees absent some specific statutory or contract provision that says the prevailing party gets its attorney's fees. i wouldn't admit it - - make them prove it to the judge (the attorney's fees are sometimes as much as the amount you're being sued for).

If you file an answer, a default judgment will not be entered. A default judgment would only occur IF you didn't file an answer. If it were me, I would deny owing anything except the balance of the account if you agree you owe that.

As for paragraph 4., if you don't agree with the statement/allegation, then you should deny the paragraph.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago
Ok then I think I understand pretty well now. I'm sure this is a pretty simple deal. There's just not enough owed that it'd be worth an attorney I don't think. What is the likelihood that I will have to appear?.. These things can usually be settled out of court can't they? Also, would it be out of line to go ahead and contact the original creditor & see about setting up a payment plan?
Thanks again
It is certainly possible that you will not have to appear. If you file an answer and then try to settle, it may be that you can avoid appearing. However, if you can't/don't settle, then you will have to appear.
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Hi - I hope the previous post makes sense.

If you can't settle your case, the matter will be set for hearing and you would have to appear or a judgment for everything the other party is requesting would be granted based on your failure to appear.
Roger
Roger, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 31,796
Experience: BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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Roger
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