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What To Do If You Are Sued

Mar 26, 2021 | Written by: Tracy B. Bussel, Esq. |

If you have been served with a Summons and Complaint, either by mail or by a process server, you are being sued. Being sued can be a stressful experience. However, if you are aware of the steps to take, the experience may be a little less stressful.

FIRST, read the Complaint. It will tell you the reason you are being sued and sometimes will include the amount sought. The summons will tell you when and where to file a response if you contest the claim and will notify you of the time in which to file. DO NOT IGNORE THE LAWSUIT. Ignoring a lawsuit will not make it go away. Failure to file a response will permit the Plaintiff to ask the court for a default judgment. A default can result in your wages being garnished or money from your bank account(s) being taken.

SECOND, contact your insurance company to alert them about the lawsuit. Not all lawsuits will be covered under a policy of insurance, but if the subject of the lawsuit is something covered, the insurance company will let you know and even assign an attorney.

THIRD, if your lawsuit is not covered by an insurance policy (or if only parts of the claims are covered), hire an attorney. Word-of-mouth or a Google search can point you in the right direction. An attorney understands the pitfalls of a court case, as well as the potential strategies of the plaintiff’s attorney and defenses to the claims asserted.

FOURTH, collect information. Your attorney will most likely ask for information that can prove or disprove the plaintiff’s claims and assist in your defenses. DO NOT destroy any information that could be remotely connected to the matter in dispute, as this can negatively impact the case. SAVE all paper and electronic data such as emails, accounting records, files, memos, or notes.

FINALLY, be patient. Lawsuits can take years to resolve, especially in the current COVID circumstances when parties, attorneys and courts are working remotely. The litigation process involves discovery, which takes time and is usually undertaken before any settlements are reached. Remember to stay calm and listen to your attorney’s instructions. 

TracyBusselTracy Bussel, Esq., is a partner at Gebhardt & Kiefer, PC, and practices primarily in the areas of employment law, civil rights litigation, general liability, insurance defense, and the representation of public entities.  Contact Ms. Bussel at 908-735-5161 or via email.

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Any statements made herein are solely for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon or construed as legal advice.