How To Respond If You Are Sued
Receiving a summons that you’re being sued in civil court is never fun. If this is your first time receiving a summons, you probably have no clue of how to proceed. The first step is to take a deep breath because responding to a complaint isn’t an extremely difficult task, but failing to respond can land you in hot water. Here are the steps you can take to respond if you’re being sued in civil court:
#1: Attempting to Come to a Settlement
The first step you can take is trying to come to a settlement with the other party. If you’ve received your summons from an attorney representing the other party, contact the attorney to see if negotiation or mediation is an option. If you have your own lawyer, have your lawyer do this for you.
#2: Read the Summons and Come Up with a Defense
If you plan on defending your side in court, it’s time to develop your defense. You’ll need to have a reason as to why you believe the plaintiff doesn’t deserve the damages that they are claiming in the case. When you’ve come up with your defense, you’ll need to file a document with the court called a Notice of Intention to Defend. This should be on the summons with a deadline as to when this document can be filed. Once you file this document, the court will set up a date where both parties will plead their case.
You also have the option to respond to the summons by filing your very own claim as the defendant. This is called filing a countersuit, but make sure you have evidence that you have suffered the damages that you are seeking. Once you’ve completed this paperwork, your attorney will file it or you can file with the court clerk.
#4: Advise the Court the Summons Wasn’t Served in Compliance with the Court
When you’re served with a summons, the plaintiff must follow the rules. If you feel you weren’t legally served, you can respond by filing a pre-trial request again McDonough Personal Injury Attorney . This request will include information on how you were served and the judge may dismiss the case or postpone it until you’re served properly.
Whatever you do, don’t simply ignore the complaint thinking that it will go away. If you decide to do this, the judge may just offer a judgement for whatever the plaintiff is asking for. Review your options, respond, and get this situation settled as soon as possible.