No matter how many legal dramas you’ve watched, nothing prepares you for the worry that comes with being served with a lawsuit. Once you’ve been served, you’re likely to have a little bit of panic—but try to stay calm. If you take action quickly and work with a skilled legal representative, you can find the best course of action for your needs.
1. Contact an Attorney
The first thing you should do is contact an attorney. You may be tempted to delay this step or ignore the lawsuit, but failing to respond in a timely manner can lead to a default judgment against you. The sooner you reach out to an attorney, the sooner you can come up with a plan of action. If you choose an attorney who offers a free consultation, you can feel confident that you won’t incur any expenses unless you decide to retain them.
2. Start Gathering Evidence
Depending on the contents of the lawsuit, you may need to gather evidence. If you’re being brought to court for damage caused by a breach of contract, you might need evidence of any agreements between you and the person suing you. If someone is alleging you of negligent design work, you’ll likely need to produce your project file. Your lawyer can help you determine exactly what you need and the best way to get it.
3. Request an Extension if Necessary
Your paperwork should include information on your court date. Occasionally, it may be in your best interest to request an extension. The other party had time to gather evidence and start building a case before you were served; an extension can put you on equal footing. A skilled attorney can determine your options for an extension and whether one would be beneficial in your case.
4. Evaluate Your Options with Your Attorney
After an initial analysis of the lawsuit and its merits, you and your attorney can weigh your options and decide on the best option for you. Perhaps you’ll choose to negotiate directly with the other party to reach a settlement, or maybe you’ll file an answer that responds to the plaintiff’s claims and evidence. You might also decide to countersue or file a motion to dismiss. Everything depends on the merits of the case, how much evidence is available, and the likelihood of the other party succeeding.
5. File Your Response and Serve the Other Party
Once you’ve made a decision in step four, your attorney will draft the necessary documents and paperwork. After they’ve been properly filed, your attorney will tell you what to expect and what to do next.
Being sued is stressful, but you don’t have to go through it alone. The team at Capshaw & Associates is here to support you and offer personalized advice. Call us at (214) 761-6610 to schedule your free consultation.