Ask a Lawyer and Get Answers to Your Legal Questions
You have a pair of options. Filing an answer to avoid a default would require doing it in court or having a lawyer do so. The other option is calling the lawyer on the summons. Explain your situation and work out a settlement that, avoids your having to go to court and ends the lawsuit. It should be in writing to confirm the settlement.
However, you should just answer the summons in writing, even if you are going to try to negotiate with the plaintiff's attorney, since if you do not answer in the time specified on the summons they will get a default judgment and they will proceed to then seize any tax refunds and will proceed with the garnishment and can even levy your bank accounts. This is why it is important to answer the summons in writing to the clerk of the court and then pursue a settlement.
Here is a sample answer from another case to show you format. Essentially, you put the case heading the way it appears on the complaint (lawsuit) you received at the top. Your heading would be somehing like "Defendant's Answer to Complaint". Then, for each and every allegation raised in the complaint, you need to state whether you admit the allegation, deny the allegation, or are without knowledge to the allegation.I hope this has been helpful. If so, please provide positive feedback!
For some reason, the link to the sample answer didn't show up. Here is the link: https://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/documents/cases/2004/07/040723respondentsanswertocmplt.pdf
You don't have to explain why you deny an allegation in the answer; however, it may be helpful to explain why you deny in a short manner just to start to portray your side of the case.
I hope this has been helpful. If so, please provide positive feedback!