A new website called SoloSuit, created by students at Brigham Young University Law School, helps debtors answer a lawsuit if they can’t afford a lawyer.
Fast Company has more:
When a debtor is sued, they receive a legal document called a complaint with a list of numbered allegations. Although it isn’t difficult to respond, the document doesn’t exactly make it clear how to do so. Parker, who previously worked on trials–a much later stage of a lawsuit–said that he didn’t know how to respond himself the first time he encountered a complaint.
After some basic training in design thinking, the students interviewed debtors who had defaulted to understand their challenges, and then worked with a design student, a software engineer, and an industrial design professor to create a Turbo Tax-like site. The site quickly walks someone through a response by asking simple questions, and then automatically generates a document that they can send in.
Once someone takes that first step, they can get pro bono help from lawyers with the rest of the case (SoloSuit lists a number of local agencies). There are a series of defenses a debtor can use–for example, the collections agency might have filed the lawsuit too late, or harassed the debtor, or the contract between the parties might have been breached. In some cases, a debt is sold or passed down through so many parties that the debt holder may only have a single line of data–and courts may decide that’s not enough evidence to prove that a contract existed.
The articles notes that the lawyers who take on pro bono cases have a pretty high success rate of either reducing the debt or getting the debt eliminated altogether.
For more information on the issues surrounding medical debt, please contact RIP Medical Debt.