These days, anyone can sue anybody.
It may not be as easy as clicking a thumbs-down button on a Facebook post. But by simply completing a few forms and paying court filing fees, someone can file a case against you.
And you can’t just ignore it like a troll in your social media. Being sued is personal and can be physically, emotionally, and financially draining.
The first reaction of most people is to get angry and charge at the people suing them. They contact the plaintiff or their lawyer to have a discussion about who’s to blame or if the lawsuit is necessary. They don’t realize that by doing this, they’re hurting their case and showing vulnerability to the other party.
Don’t make this mistake. Instead, buckle up and follow these tips.
When Being Sued, Keep Calm and Carry On
You might recognize these words from a famous motivational poster. It’s understandable to get hurt or angry after you receive a notice that you’re getting sued. But these emotions will not help you win your case or make it go away.
Rather, you should accept the fact that the lawsuit is there and it’s time to take action.
The first thing you should do is to read the summons carefully. Take note of your deadline to respond. In general, you have twenty days from when you received the summons to file a response with the court.
Failing to do so, the court will award the plaintiff a default judgment. When this happens, they’re most likely to receive whatever they’re asking for in the lawsuit.
Fight or Forfeit
There are times when it’s more cost-effective to concede. Is it worth your time and money to fight that traffic ticket? Or if you’re being sued in a small-claims court, you might end up paying more for attorney’s fees and other expenses even if you win the case.
But if you decide to fight, unless you know the law really well, the next step you should take is to consult a lawyer.
You can always choose to go unrepresented. But according to attorneys Rwan and Tim Hardesty on their website, going without a lawyer cuts your winning chances in half.
Your lawyer is the most suited to give you advice on how to proceed. You can either settle out of court, file a response, file a motion to dismiss, or even sue the plaintiff in a counterclaim.
How You Can Help Your Lawyer
While your lawyer will do most of the work, there are things you can do to contribute to the cause.
Of vital importance is collecting information. The one with the most documentation will usually win the case. Thus, you should take care of any information with even a remote connection to your lawsuit. This can be in the form of emails, records, memos, receipts, and notes.
The other thing of equal importance is to keep your mouth shut about the case except when talking to your lawyer. We’re sure you’ve heard this before: “anything you say can be used against you.” Don’t give the enemy bullets that they can shoot you with.
It’s Not the End of the World
When being sued, the best thing you can do is to trust yourself that you’ll be able to face this head on. Just because you got sued doesn’t mean that the other person is right or that they’ll win.
If you know what to expect, you can prepare yourself for anything.
What if you’re on the other side of the equation? Do you know the difference between a personal injury claim vs a workers’ compensation lawsuit? If you got into a work-related accident and unsure of what to do next, click here.
“Help, I’m Being Sued!” A Guide to What Comes Next