What To Do When You’ve Been Sued?

Summons or litigation threats should scare any normal person. How can someone asking for your money or property for damages make you comfortable? So, you are excused if a lawsuit threat makes you anxious.  

But you’re not alone because so many people and businesses are being sued. In fact, state and federal trial courts receive 100 million and 450,000  filed cases, respectively, every year. However, it does not make your lawsuit threat insignificant. 

The most crucial thing is how you respond to the summons and your actions afterward. For example, you can be counter-sued in your personal injury case like an auto accident. You may incur additional legal costs over other piling expenses if you can’t work due to an injury. 

Lawsuit loans can help you cover the expenses and pay later after settlement. So, litigation funding companies can help reduce your financial burden. But, only an experienced attorney will save you from your legal woes. Your reaction and actions after being sued are crucial to your case outcomes. 

The blog guides you on tips and steps you can take when you’ve been sued. Let’s explore. 

  1. Evaluate the Complaint 

First, know the parties suing and the claims they have against you. Read the complaint and check out the “defendant” section to confirm if you are being sued. 

You should know the plaintiff if you’re a defendant. Otherwise, turn to the complaint’s last page to see what the plaintiff wants from you. It helps you know what you allegedly did wrong and the damages the plaintiff seeks to be sorted. 

  1. Relax and Stay Calm 

Breathe in and out!! Remember, you’re not the first to be sued and won’t be the last. But relaxing is easier said than done. Your gut can trick you into calling the plaintiff or their attorney. Fight and warn your gut that it may not be the right time to play hero. 

That’s why you should calm down before making any decisions that may undermine the outcome of the court process. 

Next, do not talk to your colleagues and friends about the case; they may be called in as the plaintiff’s witnesses. Also, do not try to destroy vital documents. Try and allow your body to take a break and calm yourself. 

  1. Speak to an Attorney

Unless you’re an attorney or highly familiar with court processes, do not attempt to represent yourself legally. If your rights, property, or substantial money is at stake, an experienced attorney can come in handy. 

They will offer the best course of action that guarantees the best outcome for your case. Sometimes, your reputation is undermined if the lawsuit goes viral even before reaching trial.

It can lead to work suspension and loss of your hard-earned property. An attorney will offer the best course of action like asset freezing to protect yourself. Also, risk-free legal funds from litigation funding companies can help cover your expenses if the lawsuit causes financial stress. 

  1. File Your Response to the Court

The most common way to respond to a lawsuit is by filing an answer. Remember, a response to a court case has a deadline depending on the court. 

Most courts give an ultimatum of 20 days to respond to the complaint. If you fail to respond, the court can issue a default judgment automatically. Answering a complaint is a chance to respond to the plaintiff’s legal claims and allegations. 

It also allows you to develop facts and legal arguments as your defense foundation to defeat the plaintiff’s claims. So, for every allegation in the complaint, you should give a response. 

You’ll have three options when responding to the plaintiff’s allegations: 

  • Admit that the allegations are true.
  • Deny, stating that they are false.
  • Deny, claiming that you have limited information about whether the allegation is false or true. 

These options apply to every allegation leveled against you or your company in the complaint. It will prevent the plaintiff from receiving a default judgment in the case. In short, it shows you’re going to defend the case. 

That is better than not responding. Because non-response means that you accept all the allegations against you in the complaints. It is like signing up to lose your property or money without putting in a fight. 

So, you must include an affirmative defense in your claim. Otherwise, it will be waived. 

  1. Try and Have the Court Drop the Case

This is an attorney’s play, so it is better left to them. You can file for the case to be dropped on various grounds. Over 90% of lawsuits are dismissed, so you can also file for one. Here are the grounds you can use to file motions to dismiss: 

  • Improper location 
  • Insufficient process
  • No subject-matter jurisdiction 
  • Filing is done past the court deadline

You can use so many reasons to invalidate the plaintiff’s complaint. Unfortunately, every case is unique and different. So, sometimes the court can grant the defendant’s motion. 

But, you can also sue the plaintiff if their actions injured you. A compulsory counterclaim is necessary if your claims are based on the same incident or transaction. If you fail to sue the plaintiff now, you are not allowed to do so in the future. 

But, if it is a permissive counterclaim (not tied to the plaintiff’s incident), you can sue them in a separate case at your time of choosing. But you’ll need money both for litigation fees and basic upkeep as you fight for your settlement. A lawsuit loan from pre-settlement funding companies can sort your bills. You can then pay them later when the case is settled. 

  1. Try Negotiation 

Like most things, litigation comes with a price tag. And they can stack up pretty fast and become a real financial burden. From investigations to trial preparation time, you’ll have to depart with a substantial amount. 

But, you can reduce the expenses by negotiating with the plaintiff’s attorney. Strike a middle ground and acceptable terms for both parties and save some cash.

  1. Accept the Final Decision 

Buckle up for trial if negotiations fail. Although settlement can happen at any time, you should be ready to litigate the dispute. You must assist your attorney as they craft a solid trial strategy. 

If you win, it will be another chance to continue moving on with your life. But, if you lose, you’ll need to accept the verdict and let your attorney arrange the terms. You can even plan an appeal to gain your freedom, reputation, property, or money. 

Take Away

Let that summon not over-stay in your mind rent-free. As highlighted, relax and remember missing the court response deadline can complicate the matter. 

Because a lawsuit can undermine your business and individual freedom, it’s better handled by an experienced attorney. You can also reach out to litigation finance firms to help cover the expenses. 

But most top-rated lawsuit funding companies engage with your attorney to review your case. If the case is solid, you can receive legal funding within 24 hours to cater to your needs. 

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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