What to Do if You’re Being Sued
If you are served with a summons notifying you that you are being sued, knowing what to expect and acting quickly can help your case.
- Do not ignore it. You likely will have only 30 days to respond to the complaint, and you should not wait until last minute to make a decision on how you wish to respond.
- Gather your documents. Compile all relevant documents, letters, emails, contracts, photographs, bills, or any other documentary evidence that relates to the dispute. These documents will assist you and your attorney in defending your case.
- Find a Good Attorney. Seeking the advice of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney at the beginning will lessen the stress of a lawsuit considerably.
- Decide How to Respond. Decide whether you want to respond at all. If not, a default judgment may be issued against you. If you think you are being sued in the wrong court, you may seek to have the complaint dismissed.
- Consider a countersuit. If you have claims against the person who sued you, you may want to file a countersuit against them. Your attorney will advise you on whether a countersuit is possible and the strategic advantages of doing so.
- Consider settlement or mediation. Before the case goes to trial, you may wish to seek a settlement with the opposing party or to seek the assistance of a mediator. Attempting to work out the issue prior to trial may save money otherwise spent on costly litigation. Your attorney can try to negotiate a settlement on your behalf or help come to a resolution before trial.
Prepare for trial. If all else fails, prepare for trial.