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Should I Try to Settle, Pay Off, or Sue?

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This is another inquiry about a car loan that I cosigned for in North Carolina. I am trying to decide how to take care of this.

The person I cosigned for took off and stopped paying I could not convince the finance company to do a voluntary repo. I had no idea where she was at that time, but I knew they could locate the car if they wanted to. Instead, they did an "involuntary" repo months later. I found that out when I got the notice of sale and collections notice. The loan is in collections. I thought about Validation (but I know they are assigned and the debt for all intents and purposes is "mine")

My question is, should I go ahead with the Validation process or try to negotiate with them (CA) for a lower amount and manageable payments? I am in no financial position to just write a check for this. Even a payment plan would be very "painful". I don't want to end up in court.

Also, can I sue the person that I cosigned for (I know want a verbal agreement is worth, but even she would acknolwdge that there was an agreement, if pressed). Do I have to pay the loan off before I can sue her? This has destroyed my credit, and I want it gone as quickly and efficiently as possible.

I am so confused.

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