After you answer your Summons, it would be wise to go to the court house and file it with the court. Be sure to make a copy of your answers, and send that off to the plaintiff. Since you have answered your Summons in a timely fashion, the plaintiff cannot request a default judgment. Moreover, since you have denied each and every count on their claim, they cannot file a summary judgment either.
If you admitted that the debt was yours, most likely the plaintiff will file a Motion for Summary Judgment due to your admittance. They will win every cent that they sued you for, plus court costs and more unless you protect yourself by filing a response to their summary judgment after they filed their motion. This filing should list the reasons why they should not prevail on their Motion for Summary Judgment such as: lack of documents, lack of proof, among other reasons.
If you denied each and every count, the burden is now on the plaintiff to respond, or you can start the discovery procedure yourself. If you do not send the discovery yourself, the plaintiff will send you their discovery, consisting of Interrogatories, Requests for Admissions and Requests for Documents. You will want to avoid this, so be sure to send your discovery request first. The primary reason for this is that this will give you the information you need to effectively defend yourself. In other words, you will have all of their answers and documents requested before your discovery is due back to them, and you will be able to see first what type of documents they have to back up their claim. You can get more information and assistance with filing discovery by visiting the court documents area of the site.
So to sum up, if you denied every count on the plaintiff’s claim and quickly filed your discovery request, you will definitely have the upper hand. Make sure that when you send the discovery to them that it is sent via certified mail with return receipt. This is very important because if the plaintiff does not respond, or does not follow court rules when they respond, there are some legal maneuvers you can make. One is to file a Motion to Deem Admissions. This Motion tells the court that the plaintiff did not respond in time so their “no answer” is basically their answer. This leaves the plaintiff in a very weak position. Moreover, you can file for a summary judgment yourself, and include the fact that all of your admissions, listing them all with the motion, were not answered and therefore, deemed admitted and you are entitled to a Summary Judgment as a matter of law. If you denied all the claims, and the judge grants your summary judgment, you have essentially won your case!