Texas Debt Defense Litigation Overview
We are accomplished Texas debt defense attorneys who challenge original creditors as well as debt buyers in and out of court
People often fall behind on their financial obligations because of something out of their control, not because they are willfully hoarding money from their creditors. Being served with a debt lawsuit and no way to pay back the amount demanded can be frightening.
Our Texas debt defense lawyers have more than 30 years of combined experience. We aggressively litigate debt lawsuits in courts across the entire state of Texas, and we have a history of favorable trial outcomes. In instances where resolution outside of court is appropriate, we push for the best settlement possible and reasonable repayment terms.
An estimated 80 percent of Texas civil court dockets are debt cases. Defending a debt lawsuit often requires multiple court appearances leading up to the trial setting. Status hearings, pretrial hearings, and summary judgment hearings are customary. Our flat fee representation covers all pretrial matters – a vast majority of our clients never have to step foot in the courtroom! Though we cannot promise a specific outcome, we will do everything in our power to deliver a positive result.
What to do if you have been served with a debt lawsuit
Focusing exclusively on debt defense, our firm offers knowledgeable insight and practical guidance to our individual and business clients. Each case is unique and we provide one-on-one attention to everyone we represent. However, there are some basic guidelines that almost always apply:
- Don’t ignore the lawsuit — Failure to file an answer to a debt lawsuit likely will result in a default judgment against you. If that happens, you will no longer have the opportunity to present your defense, no matter how valid it might be.
- Hire a qualified debt defense lawyer — If you hire an inexperienced attorney, it might hurt your ability to obtain a favorable disposition. Our attorneys are very familiar with the errors that are frequently made in debt collection cases. The fee you pay to your attorney is an investment in the outcome of your case, so be sure to make a wise investment.
- Learn about the potential defenses — Whether your case stems from a credit card balance, student loan debt, auto loan deficiency, medical bill or something else, you deserve a full explanation of the potential defenses available to you. Frequently, key documents are missing or inaccurate, which could potentially trigger a case dismissal.
Elements of Texas debt litigation
Original creditor banks and other financing institutions are not the only entities that pursue debt collection activity and lawsuits. “Debt buyers” typically have no connection to the originator of a loan, credit card, or line of credit. They purchase and sell charged-off and delinquent accounts, “stepping into the shoes” of the original creditor.
The largest and most successful Texas debt collection law firms run high volume operations, employ lots of collectors, and retain attorneys who file an avalanche of lawsuits. This can be intimidating, but you are not powerless in these situations. Our attorneys provide valuable counsel on matters such as:
- Statute of limitations — For a debt lawsuit to be valid, it must be filed within the statute of limitations and served within a reasonable amount of time. A process server — either a constable or a private company — will first attempt to serve you with a lawsuit in person. If personal service is unsuccessful, a motion for alternative service may be filed with the court. When alternative service is approved by the judge, a lawsuit and citation may be served by "posting."
- Burden of proof — The plaintiff in a debt lawsuit has to demonstrate that a legitimate debt exists and was not paid. It is generally not the responsibility of the defendant to prove that they do not owe a debt. Through the exchange of trial documents, our attorneys determine if the plaintiff has evidence sufficient to prove its case in court. Plaintiffs, especially debt buyers, often lack the ability to produce the records needed to succeed at trial. Other times, the records simply do not exist. After completing case review and analysis, we counsel our clients regarding settlement options versus fighting the case in court.
- Judgments — Failing to respond adequately to a debt lawsuit or to appear at a court setting could lead to a default judgment against you. Though we do handle certain cases on behalf of judgment debtors, it becomes much more difficult to secure a favorable outcome once the court has entered its order.
- Service of process — The statute of limitations for a breach of contract lawsuit in Texas is generally four years. A credit card lawsuit, for example, must be filed within four years of the date the credit card became delinquent. Our attorneys will review your debt lawsuit in detail to determine if there are any legal defects in the plaintiff's petition, and will respond with the appropriate affirmative defenses. A lawsuit filed outside of the statutory deadline may result in either a dismissal or a take-nothing judgment in favor of the defendant.
Contact a Texas litigator to schedule a free consultation about your debt lawsuit
Tom Thomas Legal, P.C. advocates on behalf of Texas residents who are being sued due to an alleged debt. For a free consultation, please call 855-898-3328 or contact us online. We have locations in Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, El Paso and Fort Worth.